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11 The times continue to change, and the conflict between the values I learned from my parents and the values I have felt in my present life is constantly confusing to me. But this confusion is surely not just mine. So, I wanted to express the story of women’s social status through self- portraits in my art. Jennis: Your painting of a man in heels and wearing stockings is quite intriguing. Ever since I first saw it, I have wanted to ask you what you wish to convey in that painting. Kim Mi-ae: My painting tells the story of my parents, and it also contains the story of my husband. My husband is a delicate and quiet person. I think he is a person who has a lot of feminine aspects. Married couples seem to make up for the weak points in each other. I think my introverted husband needs a more active wife’s role. This has turned me into a more active woman. We have been raised to believe that women should act feminine and men should be masculine. “Men don’t cry. Women should be meek and obedient” – like this, we have set women apart from men. But I have realized that I have some masculinity within me and that some men have feminine facets. In fact, the degree would depend only on the situation or context that each individual is in. What I wanted to do with that painting was bring out the inner man who has had to hide his feminine aspects from others. So, to do this, I combined the image of a strong ▲ Do Not! by Kim Mi-ae (2019, acrylic on canvas). man with some objects symbolizing femininity. Jennis: You said that you would like to gain freedom Jennis: It has been said that conceptual art that captures from the eyes of those who measure women only from the artist’s thought is the essence of modern art. My niece, the appearance that the world dictates, but some women who studied fine art in France, told me that in France in your paintings still show beautiful feminine qualities, art college students are not required to be good at art to boldly revealing their sexuality. gain admission. Students there grow into being artists Kim Mi-ae: I would love to freely express human by discussing philosophical, historical, and cultural beauty. However, since I am also a person who has been contents. That might be why I am so interested in your immersed in the ingrained customs and education of this artworks. I wonder whether there is a particular reason society, there has been this inner dilemma in expressing for you to paint on the subject of women. What would human beauty. But this is my mission: to find the beauty you like to convey through your art? in women as being strong, confident, and challenging. I Kim Mi-ae: People say, “The most personal thing is the think my art is in the process of breaking away from the most creative one.” With this, I agree. I would like to tell long-held social perception engraved upon my body. my life-centered story through my art. I grew up in a very conservative family. My parents asked me to behave as Jennis: Your artworks contain difficult themes. I wonder a nice girl in order to be “a wise mother and good wife” why you chose pop art as a medium for conveying your (현모양처, 賢母良妻), and they placed me under a strict issues. curfew. It was an unbearable restraint for a young girl who Kim Mi-ae: Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein [1923– F was living in the modern world outside home life. They did 1997], Andy Warhol [1928–1987], Jean Michel Basquiat ebruar not even allow me independence before marriage. I love [1960–1988], and Keith Haring [1958–1990] used thick my parents, but in order to gain independence from their outlines and speech bubbles to create a new sensation excessive affection, I decided to get married. The type of in painting, breaking with traditional art concepts. Just y 20 partner I was looking for was a man who could help me like these pop artists, I hope that my paintings expressing to stand on my own. Fortunately, my married life is going women in this society will raise questions and awareness 2 well with respect to the two of us, just as I had dreamt. in their viewers. 2 202202.indd 11202202.indd 11 2022-01-24  1:25:142022-01-24  1:25:14

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