Jeenho Seo: The Benefit of the Doubt
Seo’s work explores the social expectations and bigotry of individuals’ linguistic behavior in regard to their gender, race, and social class. In his recent body of work, Seo’s own experience of shifting social projections on speaker agency between the United States and South Korea have deeply prevailed in the artist’s mind.
The word ‘mouth’, a space where we form the words to speak, has become an allegorical noun to describe ‘what we speak’ in many languages. Seo delves into the idea that the space inside of a mouth is where he holds thoughts, limits the agency, reforms words, and sometimes swallows everything to meet a certain social stratification or assumptions around him.
Each cast of the negative space of the artist’s own mouth represents a personal experience of endangered speaker agency or limited verbal communication in social settings of different cultures he lives in. In ‘Twilight’ the casted form extends through the wall and the floor with long stems mimicking the route of trachea-breathing-, not leading to a specific place but back to itself after a complex entanglement of self-doubt.
The table installation includes five different casted pieces that contain rice, different kinds of traditional Korean soups, a green tea bag, or white bread symbolizing the mundane staple food from Seo’s daily life in Korea and in the United States. The simple yet denotive presentation quietly depicts the uncommunicative or unuttered table manners that are commonly expected during a family meal time in South Korea.
Jeenho Seo (b.1989) is a multi-media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. He was born in South Korea and was raised in the UK and Korea. He earned his MFA at Yale in Sculpture; BFA in East Asian Painting and Sculpture at Hong-ik University. He explores his artistic expression eclectically through installation, sculpture, performance and photography. He has previously shown his art in Seoul, New Haven and New York.
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