Woo Jae Lim
My works begin with a question, “Is what I am seeing now real?” This question arises from visual experiences of standing in the middle of an endlessly extending corridor or in between a pattern of the same structures. I was intrigued by the fact that within the same space, each individual perceives the space differently and has a varying sense of physical distance. I was interested in visual illusions that change depending on the light, shadows, or objects within the space.
The ground on which we interpret visual phenomena relies on our conceived knowledge. Since we cannot imagine something that we’ve never seen, we are incapable of thinking about the possibility that what we see in front of our eyes might actually be different from what we think it is. Though happening almost simultaneously, perception and cognition are not the same thing. Our learned knowledge through study and experience takes part in the process of the transition from perception to cognition. In other words, our ability to say, “there is something,” is the result of establishing a hypothesis that “there may perhaps be something” by means of comparing the recognized object with preconceived information stored in our brains and verifying the cogency of the hypothesis through conducting research and revising work. In other words, the perceiving process is a dynamic interaction between seeing and knowing, ceaselessly interchanging, not seen as clearly distinct.
My works intend to challenge viewers’ perception of space. Viewers recognize constructed illusions, that is, they attempt to perceive and constantly interpret space that does not actually exist. In addition, viewers continually have expectations for the work based on their learned knowledge and revise their expectations by comparison with their own experiences. In this process, the viewers maintain their attitude to see what they were expecting, yet are caught in between a perception and a misconception as they begin to discover unexpected things. While going through this process, they are apt to question whether what they have seen, imagined, or expected is necessarily true by themselves. In this meaning, my works convey the perception process of the observer and demonstrates the instability of our perceptions in the space. It creates tension between the virtual and the real and invites viewers to consider the space as having coexisting heterogeneous meanings. By making an ambiguous vision, it activates viewers to have active thinking.
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