JeeYoung Lee, ‘Toxic Boy’, 2008, Opiom Gallery

There’s a saying, ‘High standards, but gutter reality,’ meaning you have big dreams, but your reality doesn’t stand up to them. I’m taking a self-mocking stance on this. Of course, nothing comes easy, but wanting to be an artist, I went to graduate school and started working on my art instead of finding a job. However, I found that this is no easy path. I came face to face with high expectations from my parents and financial problems, and I suddenly felt encumbered by the fact that time continued to proceed while nothing was guaranteed for me.
I compared myself to my friends and realized that perhaps I might be stuck in a rut as a nobody in this stage of interim. Needless to say, there is a discord between ideal and reality, but I also felt dissatisfied with reality and sad for myself. I asked myself how I should live. My immediate future was not bright and there were many restrictions. I was afraid.
I exaggerated this mental state and expressed it on-screen. I wanted to create a room that was gloomy as if faded and rusty. By applying multiple painted layers, I made walls and the floor that seemed stained with rust. I painted the furniture and props in the same way. I arranged tableware and food on the table to give the impression that someone actually lives in that space and chose cockroaches, something that people try to avoid, as my objet to induce a grotesque feeling. The character in the picture looks as if unconscious, which was presented as a way of adding an overall sense of bleakness and hopelessness. The character in the picture is a representation of myself frustrated by reality.
LEE JeeYoung