JIN HAN LEE — My Nightless Day

My Nightless Day, 2016

Oil On Linen

200 x 180 cm

My Nightless Day, 2016 Jin Han LEE

Lee :  “My Nightless Day (2016) is a self-portrait. The painting features a clear division between foreground and background. In the foreground, it is a bright, sunny day. There is a pattern of yellow and orange flowers. In the background, however, is a starry night. I am standing in the foreground of the day, placing my head down between my legs and gazing at the viewer, as if I am mooning them. Or, alternatively, as if I am trying not to occupy any part of the background where it is night.


In figurative painting, foreground and background cannot be separated from each other, just as day and night are tightly bound. Foreground and background, day and night, have shared a great deal of overlapping, each becoming part of the other. This is my understanding of duration in studio practice. At times it is very hard to pinpoint exactly where and when my inspiration began, was realised, and disappeared; just as it is very hard to tell whether it is night or day in early morning. I rethink my daydream at night, and night-dream about it. When I wake up the next morning, I don’t try to remember ideas; I am trying to see what is left behind by the passing of time. If something remains then I go on thinking about it again and again. Dreaming and thinking through day and night, a month passes, seasons change. Using my body as a physical form to experience the passing of time, I am trying to reach towards somewhere impossible to touch.


Now, these experiences of break-up, or longing for love, are the basis for the stories I can construct and express in paintings; what I hope to paint is the feeling I would like to give my lover. Throughout the process of painting, I questioned if it is possible to communicate or share an intimate meaning or feeling. Here I used the process of painting to combine many different and diverse life experiences—such as the Korean appreciation of time passing between day and night; the pose and phrase I appropriated from my yoga class; and the painter’s understanding of foreground.”


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