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The Hallmark Project

Soyoun Jeong

May 6 ~ 29, 2010
Opening Reception: Friday, May 7th, 6 ~ 8 pm

Curated by Thalia Vrachopoulos


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Jeong's site specific installation engages the viewer through its collection of Hallmark cards whose messages can be seen as ciphers of human expression. Greeting cards are often used to express sympathy, wishes, and hopes through imaginary scenarios demonstrated on the cards. As such they convey the hoped-for emotion of the giver and offer along with something physical, a positive hopeful outcome. Oftentimes sweet and even syrupy, these greeting cards through the use of text and image render reality ostensibly into dream. A type of wishful thinking informs their message that conveyed to the receiver offers a type of comfort, warmth or even love.

The images can be appreciated for their own sake but should also be viewed for their symbolic function. So that, the Hallmark brand reaches beyond the message or sign, to symbolize American culture in general. Jeong states that these cards are about the dichotomy of "dream and reality or inserted images and actuality," and she sees Hallmark's Christmas cards, for instance as representative of what Christmas should be.

Meaning, language and text are combined in small greeting cards resulting in a post-modernist discourse that metaphorically clarifies the meaning of our world. Greeting cards are part of our everyday lives and as such the following quote from the philosopher Richard Shusterman in his Aesthetics and Postmodernism, have special meaning "if [modernism] diminishes the sublime claims of high art, postmodernism compensates by making aesthetics more central to the mainstream issues of life."

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