Jaye Rhee

Artist's Website

My work explores the evasive nature of authentic desire.  By focusing on the tension between “real” desire and “fake” objects of desire, as embodied by images—in the broadest sense of the word—my work presents “real fakes” and “imageless images.”

 For example, in my public bath house series, Swan, Polar Bear, Niagara, performers move in public baths against a background of wall paintings depicting swans in a lake, a North Pole scene with polar bears, and the Niagara Falls.  These scenes exist in words, as well as in collective memory shaped by culture.  But where do they actually exist?  The swan, the polar bears of the North Pole, and the Niagara Falls, all exist without existing: they are idealized images of the nostalgic imagination.

 As an another example, my multi channel video installations depict the landscapes that are the psychological residue of the culture that I have left behind thus only exist in my memory. But are only tenuously linked to the collective memory. I attempt to reproduce these landscapes by a process that I call “faking it”.

 My work is thus concerned with making real fakes by forthrightly showing artifice without the concealment of ambiguity. This refusal to deny the actual substance of the materials with which I make art reveals the authenticity of these faked, imaginary worlds so that the product, as an artwork, is paradoxically a fake that, notwithstanding its artifice, is authentic and, thus genuine.

My goal is to create a new visual space in which artifice evaporates through the very naked presentation of images as naked materials.  This “honest artifice” would ultimately lead one into an experience of reflection about one’s own nostalgia