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Jeongkeun Lee’s work shares similar characteristics with religious rituals. Rituals are not based in reason and there is no scientific explanation for the effect they have on the human mind and emotive sphere; yet, irrefutably, rituals deliver belief and hope to those that perform and participate in them. In particular, the first finalist for the Sunny Art Prize aims to explore this inexplicable power surrounding rituals. Similar to the discourse instigated by renowned scholar Carol Duncan, Jeongkeun’s work analyses the ways in which art displayed in public institutions can be a potent catalyst for cultural values and beliefs. Social, political, and ethical viewpoints, such as those surrounding gender norms, can all be influenced by those vivid experiences constantly digested by the public in the form of this ritual within institutions.
Ziyun Zhang is a product of the digital age. She feels that her generation does not have heart-quaking life experiences like the ones encountered by previous generations during large-scale historical upheavals. According to her, our surroundings, from social contexts to the empirical experience of the world around us, seem to quickly change and evolve without notice. The world is developing faster and faster, making it exponentially harder to achieve a sense of individual existence among the myriad of interactions and relationships that characterise our present.
'I regard painting as a deeply human and enduring form of expression, a visual philosophy and a language that has been with us from the beginning of time. It sees more than the photograph and does more than merely investigates and orders the reality. I am intrigued by how much a human eye can notice and analyse in a split second, and how complicated it is to reverse the process, and consciously - or instinctively - construct an image that works on many levels.
Painting deals with the world and the things metaphysical, it is a carrier to our spirituality, joy, enthusiasm and lust, sophisticated even when innocent and child-like. At the same time, it becomes a piece of furniture and delivers it's philosophy quietly, demurely on your wall.'