Studio visit: Jin Meyerson

The Korean-American artist, whose recent painting Evolution of Perception will be featured at Christie’s in Hong Kong on 25 November, on how returning to South Korea saved him from a creative crisis

‘Every artist starts out where you want to find out something about yourself. That’s the difference between making cute drawings, and making art,’ says the Korean-American artist Jin Meyerson

Speaking to us in his studio in Seoul, the artist reflects on a period in his life when he stopped painting altogether. ‘If I don’t have a sense of discovery, then it’s repetition,’ he explains. ‘Then that feeling of awe has left the room and for me, it left really quickly’.  

Born in Incheon in South Korea in 1972, Meyerson grew up in rural Minnesota, attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He emerged in the late 1990s as part of the first generation of artists to be confronted by the internet and the virtual morass of the digital age, and sought to make sense of it.

Jin Meyerson, Evolution of Perception, 2018. Oil on canvas. Estimate HKD 180,000-240,000. Offered in the Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale on 25 November at Christies in Hong Kong

Jin Meyerson, Evolution of Perception, 2018. Oil on canvas. Estimate HKD 180,000-240,000. Offered in the Asian Contemporary Art Day Sale on 25 November at Christie's in Hong Kong

He work was exhibited in shows such as Saatchi’s on-going series The Triumph of Painting, which sought to re-examine the medium in the digital era. Yet Meyerson began to find that his academic training inhibited his attempts to navigate this new world.

It was not until he returned to Asia that he realised how disconnected he had become from his heritage. ‘Korea… is a place that has great resonance for me. It brought me out of hibernation,’ he explains. ‘What makes the moment that we live in now so fantastic is that any of us can access anything, at any time.’

Now dividing his time between Seoul and Hong Kong, Meyerson’s ambitious paintings encompass what he calls ‘an aesthetic schizophrenia’: an infinitely malleable universe of different levels of distortion, in which imagery is compressed, dragged and dropped like digital files.

‘If I have any singular intention with my work, it is that when someone stands in front of it, they cannot imagine that it was made in another moment,’ he reveals. ‘That is what brought me back.’