WORKS           ABOUT ME           CONTACT

나의 소우주 [my mikrokosmos]

Date: 2023.02
Location: Providence, RI
‘Women Artist’ Wintersession with Agnieszka Taborska
The project centered on drawing inspiration from a female artist and integrating artistic essence into one's own work through appropriation. I chose to explore the works of Haegue Yang, a prominent contemporary Korean artist acclaimed for her skillful incorporation of ordinary objects in sensory installations. Specifically, I found inspiration in her artwork titled "Sallim." In response to this inspiration, I created a zine that delves into the intricate fabric of my mother's personal experiences. The zine serves as a medium through which I unravel and showcase the rich tapestry of her life.

Haegue Yang
Steel frame, mixed media
250 x 420 x 310 cm

The term "sallim" [살림] originates from the Korean word for housekeeping. In this particular art piece, the artist brings the historically feminized and most private space of a home into the public sphere. The steel structure replicates the skeletal framework of her own kitchen back when she lived in Berlin. Within this structure, various objects are thoughtfully arranged to engage the senses, including light bulbs, an electric fan, scent emitters, and even some garlic.
Observing how she transformed the often-overlooked value of household labor into a multisensory experience led me to wonder how my own mother, the technical owner of the kitchen in our home, would perceive this artistic representation.

C. 2023 Haegue Yang

As I delved deeper into the piece and engaged in long, meaningful conversations with my mother, I gained an understanding of how she perceives housekeeping—she views it as a “mikrokosmos” [소우주], a self-contained universe where she reigns supreme, and everything revolves around her. Within the realm of her kitchen, she finds a sense of solace and control, creating her own quiet sanctuary where time seems to stand still. It becomes a space where she can immerse herself completely, without any worry or distraction from the hustle and bustle of the external world.
In these moments, my mother finds a unique form of liberation. It's in this very space that she finds a sense of empowerment and fulfillment, mastering the art of culinary creations with grace and confidence. Moreover, the kitchen holds a special place in her heart, transcending its conventional definition as a mere space for cooking. It embodies memories, emotions, and moments of joy shared with family over meals.

I curated a collection of my mother's most cherished sensory experiences in the kitchen and brought them to life in a zine—

Stepping into the kitchen early in the morning
The gentle caress of morning breeze and fog
Her beloved potted plants sitting by the window
The moment she ties her apron
The gushing water from the faucet
Thick hot steam rising from the pot

I sought to create an immersive experience, capturing the essence of these sensory moments through the use of vellum as a medium. When flipping through the pages, the imageries overlap, blending seamlessly to recreate the entire atmosphere of the kitchen. I also varied the arrangement of the text, moving away from a rigidly explanatory or didactic structure. I opted to provide subtle hints of imagery, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in my mother's sensory experiences within the kitchen. 
The zine becomes a portal, transporting the reader into the heart of the kitchen—a place where everyday routines transform into extraordinary sensory encounters. Furthermore, it serves as a tribute to my mother by demonstrating a deep level of appreciation for the role she plays in the household.

C. 2023 Janice Lee │ All Rights Reserved.