There isn’t the Woman.

There are women.

Throughout Eunnam Hong’s paintings, Lacan’s axiom comes up and lingers around for us to talk, think, dream about it.

Woman does not exist. Woman is…

Be it that she does not partake of the universal, women will want to enclose the particular in a world that conveys her, them…

Hong is a Korean born, New York-based artist. Her show Souvenirs opened at Lubov Gallery in June of 2023.

Is herself painting herself?, moreso is herself the only Souvenir?

Woman is Other.

Not only an Other to the man, she is Other as such. And on account of her Otherness what is normal is always non-male. . .”

Looking throughout Hong’s paintings, you can find only non-male among her Souvenirs. It comes to a point when you ask yourself if it is always the very one non-male, more so if it is not the artist herself, painting herself? Is the artist her own model, her only souvenir?

Now we want to lucubrate on the fantasm it brings about, indeed so much a feminine one. Not a woman, but women that look alike, you start wondering if it is always the same one woman… More so, is she the artist herself? … Could it be she is the artist painting herself? Wigs lying around range from platinum blonde to azabache brunette, beautiful curly wigs that sit on their heads, or lie piled up on chairs. In shape and size, the wigs are all exactly the same. Again, there’s the so many shoes–each one so much the same to each other.

Sameness is the game. A seduction game, even love?

Hong’s women do so much walking, so much waiting, so much leaning against the wall, and sitting on chairs. We see them as devoted to the jouissance of their own bodies as they realize that even in solitude they are looked at by another. Whom?

The repeated elements dwell in the beautiful that lies in their extreme peculiarity. Their unutterable presence is for sure to call on the signifier. Now you have to think the factor of love is in fact saying something, if not a lot. The factor of love says seduction, if only to say love again and again…

––What is the logic of this so feminine a fantasm?

Miller recounts how Lacan elaborates a dialectic of the sexual…“a real act changes the subject, pulls it out of its indeterminacy, gives it a new identity…The emphasis over the sexual act quality as such is an act: let it reveal the essence of what it is to be a man, to be a woman. Both to be fully what they are…to everyone’s surprise—I attended the seminar—there was a complete turnaround! Lacan shoots: ‘There is no sexual act.’”

Lacan’s new equation returns in the realm of the unconscious. Now the feminine and the masculine will never be pinned down in an univocal way. Their definition, indeed blurred by plural, contingent and contradictory identifications stays open to the individual.

“Unlike animals, the partner is never specified, and copulation always involves some failure. The common experience of sexuality—torn, willingly guilty, capricious and sometimes ‘fluid’ as we would say today—shows nothing equivalent to biological binarism, which is immutable and inert. Thus the abyss that exists between these two.”

Back with Eunnam Hong. In one painting, two women lie face to face, sleeping. She has painted her twin, for the case. They are wearing identical blonde wigs, the same white shirts, the same blue pants… Let “the same” convey the seduction. The sexual will dwell in the pretty. That is, in the fantasm it brings about.

Eunnam Hong, Dresses. 2023
Eunnam Hong, Jean Jacket, 2023
All photographs courtesy of Lubov Gallery