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Jeongkeun Lee

MA work

Personal Ritual series

I wish to create works that bring comfort to myself or someone else. In order to do this, I had to make the talisman. It is a meaningless ordinary object, but it could protect someone from misfortune or bring luck. What makes this a feeble belief? Is it possible to create such ideals? 

People hang disposable plastic gloves filled with water at traditional Korean markets to repel flies. It is the wisdom of life, using the reflection and refraction of the transparent water and fly’s compound eyes. In fact, flies are around the market even where there are hanging gloves, but the gloves still are hung there as some sort of superstitious medium. Similar to gloves, there are scarecrows. Often we spot scarecrows standing in farm fields. They exist there to scare the birds. However it seems to be the perfect spot for birds to hang out and rest on. Yet they still stand there as a symbol for farmers to trust their security. Putting up scarecrows are now part of the cultivation. Scarecrows and birds. Plastic gloves and flies. Despite advanced technology and appliances, these inherited traditions are irreplaceable beyond their function.  

Why are plastic gloves still present? Probably, they are a lucky charm with a shamanistic and superstitious purpose. Merchants could expect more and have more customers when they have less flies with the gloves. It is superstition. There are no legit records on it but it is still continuing as custom. I am trying to transform it and create a viral icon in the wider world. My big ambition begins with a small step.

I happen to have an idea that belief is built through repetition, history, and exposure. Personal belief survives and is inherited into our environment over the time. It is essential to create repetition and history in a way that the ordinary plastic gloves have become a symbol to the people at the market. 

First, it has to be repetitively installed and shown as a talisman. Repetitive scenes at various spaces (country, place, time) would be the first step of the 'Snowball Effect', like the people at the market who started to hang the gloves, following from someones lead. The cross is the similar example. This form made of two intersecting lines were used as death scaffolds in ancient Rome. However, after the death of Jesus Christ, the cross transformed becoming a symbol of belief, sacrifice, and resurrection because people kept the meaning with the symbol. If I use this process, I could begin to bring consent from people.  

Secondly, it needs history. Symbols from the past are easier for people to take with less discomfort. All the old symbols around us possess some belief caused by the passing of time. The hanging gloves are not bothering my eyes because they have been used that way for a long time. In order to make the gloves as the symbol, it requires to be passed into history. We trust and have belief in things with visible past. My plastic gloves could become history if their history starts now and repeats. 

Lastly, exposure is important. Even if it has a history and repetition, it could be less realistic from distance. This being so, we need easy access to be physically close. To make this happen, they need a platform as one brand. I am planning to apply D.I.Y (Do It Yourself). In general, people who collect limited editions to create their fashion personality trust their purchase. Through this action, it could be around us before our awareness and could be handed down in stories like scarecrows. Exposure at galleries, museums and as merchandise beyond public art could help building up recognition. 

In order to possess the three effects discussed above, my history production is in progress through repetition of continuous installation and photoshoots. Photographic archives become evidence to prove belief and this makes a history. Produced in various sizes and materials becoming not only frames but also fashion or interior accessories, the gloves can be our talisman of protection in our daily lives. 

My practice with gloves would become a trustworthy symbol to those who experience it, heard about it and are aware of it unconsciously. Based on this foundation, I am hoping to virally spread my belief and interact with wider audience. Like the rain calling ceremony which never stops until it starts raining. 


  • MA Degree


    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA Photography, 2018

  • My works are performed in the way of a ritual. The effect may not be extreme, though I find a sense of security through the process and my accumulated works could reflect the transformation of my thoughts and provide comforting atmosphere at the same time. I would not say that the ritual is effective. However, gathered people with the same belief brings meanings and finds comfort. Recently, these works are parts of the project that I am focusing on; it can be Recently, these works are parts of the project that I am focusing on; it can be installed in frames and as installation. The water filled in plastic gloves are used to employ for preventing bugs by reflection like scarecrow at traditional street market in Korea. Even though there are the advanced method with technology, primitive and less effective water-filled plastic gloves still are occupying the shops. I take it as incantatory faith and hope to prevent misfortune and this hypothesis is the starting point of this project. According to this theory, the plastic glove becomes cathexis of hope and ceremonial object continuously plastic glove becomes cathexis of hope and ceremonial object continuously progressing my work. What makes the icon is that its repetitive uses by various people with the fixed meanings and purposes. I am transforming a mundane matter to the symbolic object by giving them meanings. Through installation of plastic gloves at the places that I want to protect, the glove is developed as the keeper of the hope. The performance is similar to making a talisman. Belief in talisman could be desperate hope for someone, but it could be meaningless and lousy to someone else. However, to whom it needs, it gives emotional comforts and brings belief.

    My art works mostly come into action with landscape, my thoughts or desire expressed with natural phenomenon metaphorically. Still various attempts have been proceeded in these day. I would like to talk about my basic instinct through my works. A basic instinct is an innate emotion or urge which cannot be taught by experiences or educations. My images started from regrets and my urge to capture those passing moments. Visible but formless and untouchable remembrances are attempted to be caught inside the glass case and photography. <Pause series> expressed my desire to archive clouds, smokes or waves; we are aware if their existence but they can never be around permanently. Beyond this impossible possession, this insatiable desire now arouses another question about around permanently. Beyond this impossible possession, this insatiable desire now arouses another question about forms. Through my continuing work <Catch Me If You Can series>, I started to depict my instinct to visualise the sound and touch of winds in a place where i could feel them. During my experience with nature, I happened to think of the juxtaposed relationship between people and Mother Nature. People use artificial angles and lines to preserve nature in a way that can never occur naturally. This idea of impossible coexistence of artificial straight lines by people and organic substances from Mother Nature led to <Depaysement series>. Depaysement is a word used in surrealism meaning ‘elimination’. It is eliminating an object from its rational relationship and word used in surrealism meaning ‘elimination’. It is eliminating an object from its rational relationship and placing it in an unnatural position. While I was blocking natural sceneries with artificial objects, my work continues to make me think that people and nature find it difficult to accompany each other. Even though it is difficult to assimilate, I wanted to discover my own way to mingle with nature and started to work under the title, <Personal Ritual>, I expressed my wishful spell for harmony with Mother Nature in more sincere and traditional ways rather than a technical and cynical method by plastic gloves which used to use in Korean street market for driving away insect, despite of feeble effects, plastic gloves still hang in the market. It looks like market for driving away insect, despite of feeble effects, plastic gloves still hang in the market. It looks like superstitious belief on gloves. Through repetition of installation, I want to make these gloves as an icon of protection. Namely, through symbolise icons, our nature protected by ritual.

  • Degrees

  • Exhibitions

  • Flat in Flat, Seoul, 2013; Triangle Festival, Homa, Seoul, 2013; Newbanran, Gyeonggi Museum Of Modern Art, 2013; Under the See, The Crypt Gallery, London, 2017; Sunny art prize 2017, Sunny Art Centre, London 2017; An Excuse, Square Gallery, London, 2017; Whipped up, Kunstraum, London, 2018; Group Discussion, Field Art Centre, Beijing, 2018; Final Ritual, Sunny Art Centre, London, 2018
  • Awards

  • The Winner Of Sunny Art Prize 2017 Sunny Art Centre, London
  • Conferences

  • Artist Talk, Chelsea College of Art , 2018
  • Publications

  • CA Magazine - Issue 1 -; Syrup Magazine p.69