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Tiger Monkey, 2023

Tiger Monkey, 2023

India ink & watercolor on paper

47.5 x 35 cm

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    The artist has created illustrations of both monsters and human figures that have undergone transformation through a fusion of humans and animals. However, the zodiac signs differ from these transformed beings. Instead, they are animals that have been elevated to a deity-like status. Thus, the artist depicted the zodiac animals without incorporating human characteristics.

    The concept of the zodiac is not exclusive to Korean culture; it is also prevalent in Eastern cultures. The artist aimed to portray the zodiac animals by incorporating elements of calligraphy and memorization, integrating the concept of the “small field” into the animal forms.

    In arranging the animals, pairs of animals with contrasting meanings or those that play equivalent roles were grouped together.

    For instance, ‘horse’ represents extreme yang energy, while ‘mouse’ embodies extreme yin energy. Therefore, the horse is positioned at the top, while two hidden mice are placed at the bottom. ‘Cattle’ supports the bottom, while ‘sheep’ graciously look up from the diagonally opposite position. The ‘tiger’ is depicted with ferocity due to its strong yang energy, while the ‘monkey’ is portrayed as cunning due to its strong yin energy. The ‘rabbit’ is situated in the eastern direction, symbolizing the rising sun, while the ‘chicken’ is placed in the west, symbolizing the setting sun and the concept of yin and yang. The dragon exudes the most vigorous yang energy, followed by the ‘snake’, which captures the dynamic movement of these two figures. ‘Dogs’ and ‘pigs’ are beings that provide protection and gather resources, thus their arrangement is both flexible and dependable.