Im Sebyoung is a Korean artist who lives and works between Paris and Seoul.
« Everyone is seeking Utopia, in a constant search for it until the end of our lives. The Utopia of each person is unique. In the large Youniverse work, there is a white part, this empty space corresponds to the Utopia of someone’s imagination. »
Im Sebyoung’s work questions us on the concept of geography within human experience. He considers the matter of geographical spaces of « East » and « West », definitions that pose as absolute values but that remain relative in their essence. The artist works through a repeated gesture of a drawn line, a figurative work representing urban spaces.
As a child, a family upheaval resulted in him being sent to the countryside for a prolonged period, far from his native Seoul… Afraid that his memories might slip away, he began sketching his city neighbourhood from memory in an attempt to avoid forgetting it. During this time, he developed an obsessive habit of drawing urban landscapes based entirely on his own memories, and serving the purpose of conjuring their existence; unconsciously he cultivated the habit of evoking a circular relationship between memory and reality.
During his time spent living in Paris, he persevered in this process, creating monumental drawings depicting urban scenes of his native country and his adopted city. A particularity of his work is that existing geographical features and imagined ones intertwine without differentiation.
The artist engages in semantic questioning with the title of his ongoing “Youniverse” series, a fusion of You and Universe, the latter referring to the contained individual psychological complex or, conversely, the entire cosmos.
His investigation takes the form of a pictorial yet also calligraphic representation, words in both Korean and English pervade his drawings : “You have to find them, I hid them, it’s like a little game”.
In his largest yet Youniverse, the phrase “Life flows on” in Korean script is traced by the meandering river that crosses his work.
Text © Maison Bleu Studio