Sox is based on my Korean cultural heritage influenced by attitudes in the USA. The artworks look like cute Valentine’s Day socks, but these typical American holiday icons, a bear, a heart, and a green frog, actually refer to individual Korean myths and cultural stereotypes.
In “Which Part of NO Don’t You Understand?” the text is combined with the image of a heart. It is based on a sentimental Valentine’s day cheesiness which contrasts with a New York, street smart, feminist attitude.
In “What Is My Social Responsibility As A Korean Artist?“ the text of the work’s title is combined with the image of a teddy bear. It attempts to question the fundamental roll of an artist in society which contrasts with the simple and cartoonish visuals.
It is based on the Korean myth of the “Tale of Tangun,” which explains the origin of Korean women and Korean culture. According to this myth a bear became the first Korean women by praying and eating only garlic for 100 days in a cave. The cute teddy bear is a reference to this myth. This work explores what it means to be a Korean woman artist in the cultural mix of the present.
In “Why Do You Have To Be A Green Frog?” the text is combined with the image of a cartoon frog. The text is an English translation of a common Korean phrase which means “why do you have to be a rebel?” and is very similar to the American idea of being a “black sheep” – somebody who is different and doesn’t fit in with the crowd. It is also something that my mom used to tell me.
In the west, a green frog represents romance, like the frog who when kissed, turns into a prince. In Korea, a green frog is rare and considered to be bad luck if you catch it or kill it. It appears in a Korean children’s story where the green frog gets into trouble by not obeying his parents. Korean children are supposed to learn a lesson about the value of obedience and conformity from this story.
Sox explores the interplay between globalized mass commercial production and contemporary art practice by using traditional Korean icons that are reinterpreted as American Hallmark style designs.