Things outside you are projections of what's inside you, and what's inside you is a projection of what's outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you're stepping into the labyrinth inside (Haruki Murakami)
Ina Jang: The world as a giant white canvas The relationship between surface, figure, space and fashion design
“Things outside you are projections of what's inside you, and what's inside you is a projection of what's outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you're stepping into the labyrinth inside.” (Haruki Murakami)
Ina Jang is Alice in the Wonderland of fine art and fashion, surprisingly juxtaposing photography, graphic design, drawing and sculpture in her myriad of discoveries. In her last year of college, she had the idea of intertwining paper onto her images to get rid of elements she didn't like. Since then, the South-Korean artist based in New York has been juggling with creative experiments in order to obtain nonconventional responses to the viewer’s question whether the merely objects are real or imagined, integrated into their own wholeness or futile. The contrast shelling from these quasi realities is dissecting the artificial elements in order to lighten their superficiality. And the worlds these objects belong to is also a matter of vision and choice. The characters in Ina’s stories seem to be searching for their own identity, as their faces are always hidden behind these objects of mere existence. In photography, people always react as if they are seeing a mirror of reality, this is why it is interesting to see their response in front of unidentified stimuli, a white canvas on which they have to connect all the elements together and choose their own interpretation. Talking about white canvas, white is actually the most pregnant and strong colour used in her artwork. Imagination is a mentally formed image but it starts from the real world. This is why the objects from the day to day reality are important: an empty corner, a chalkboard, fake grass.
Ina likes playing with objects, compositions and dimensions. She uses collage techniques to distort or obscure her images with construction paper. “I was forcing myself to like everything-from the people I was working with to locations where I was shooting, so I started getting rid of the elements I didn’t like in the picture”.
Ina Jang’s works of art have been exhibited through multitudinous galleries and important festivals, such as the the New York Photo Festival 2010, the Tokyo Photo 2011 or the the Empty Quarter in Dubai, and has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine Light Box, The British Journal of Photography and Foam International Photography Magazine.
To grasp the essence of your visual art: What inspires you? What is the driving force behind your creation? How do you visualize your ideas?
I get inspired by everything in my daily life. Colors, shapes and littlest events trigger my imagination. And from there, I draw simple lines onto my moleskin. Those drawings are starting point of any of my photographic work. I try to focus on minimal and graphic elements of the sketches when I make photographs. My passion relies on finding a lighthearted and uninterrupted way of seeing the world.
Tell us more about experimenting with the optical illusion and digital manipulation used in your photographs as means of recreation.
I always wanted to try something different and unseen when I was at School of Visual Arts just to develop my own visual language. At that time, I was having a great deal of fun creating images that can instantly create reactions. Since most of my works are very minimal and figurative, it was a natural progress for me to trigger my ideas to make images with optical illusion. The kind of illusion which walks fine line between reality and fantasy.
The layers in your photographs which are covering essential parts of human bodies seem to bring forth a blank canvas into another world. How do you juggle between the two sides ? How do you choose what to hide and what to leave open for the viewer's interpretation?
What's left uncovered excites me most usually. The outline and little details of things left to serving the main subject becomes questionable in my work. And that's where my sensibility and playful mind focus on.
As your whole work is an interaction of elements (people, blank walls, paper objects), how do you mingle style, design, performance art in tying the whole picture together ? What elements are you most fond of?
Every elements in the image matters of course. I think, though, my favorite part of my work is in experiencing the whole process. From designing the set to casting a model to perform in front of the camera, every little step counts as my photography to me. So I'd say that I am most fond of my work as a whole.
What is left to discover? Are you planning to keep this balance between disguise and disclosure in your works?
Photography has been a huge part of my life past decade. As I grew old I expect my work to be evolving in an unexpected way. So, I think that the new discovery is meant to happen. It may be along the line of my previous work, but it can also be something completely different.
Could you please give us more details about your future plans and project ideas we should look forward to?
I am starting my first artist residency program at the Swatch Art Peace hotel in Shanghai from mid May. At the moment, I am only concentrating on making lots of new work during my residency. There will be some exciting announcements to make in the near future.