Leda and the Swan

Artist's Note

Many women are familiar with the strange nagging sensation they had when encountering misogynistic elements--on both diegetic and descriptive levels--from folklore, myths, and legends in their childhood: we could sense something was off, but were unable to articulate exactly what.

In the wake of the recent sex crime scandal known as the 2019 Burning Sun scandal, the problem of sexual objectification of women became a major social issue in South Korea, to which I, as a woman visual artist, respond with Leda and the Swan.

Throughout the history of Western art, numerous male artists depicted the rape of Leda by the god Zeus, who was assuming the form of a swan, where the body of the victim tended to be subject to sexual objectification. As if defying such a tendency, the translucent cast of the artist’s hand(my hand) keeps a tight grip on the swan's neck. Surrounding them are the three spherical forms, each of which has a drawing tattooed by one of the three female tattooists with whom I collaborated. For these, I have shared with them a series of myths where women are unjustly punished for being sexually violated, among which the tattooists were asked to choose and reinterpret in the form of tattoo design.

Yoon, Jiyoung “Artist’s letter” In Night Turns to Day Haeju Kim and Ahreum Woo eds., Colin Mouat trans. Art and Writings et. al. South Korea: Art Sonje Center 2019.
ISBN 979-11-88658-21-3