South Korean sexual fantasies and feminist notions like you’ve never seen them before.
In the midst of the #MeToo movement and international awakening regarding the need for equal rights lie artists that help encompass the uneasy and complex emotions we may be feeling.
Seoul-based artist Ram Han uses the power of dream-like seductive and surreal imagery to express her own experiences as a woman, through the lens of a male’s perspective. This style is not one that is unknown to us, with cinematographers such as Ellen Kuras and Natasha Braier already making headlines for subverting the male gaze with their work.
Yet, Han’s work can only be described as an appropriation of male perspectives channelled through her art to reflect emotions, provocative characters, and fragmented memories.
Han told Vice, “My sexual fantasies have been male-orientated since I was young because I have been exposed and deeply influenced by male-orientated media such as films, anime and TV commercials.”
In her work, best described by the 29-year-old artist as a ‘diary’, she encapsulates emotions such as nostalgia and self-doubt that accompanies the strong sense of sexuality within the work. Together these emotions create a complex arrangement emotive imagery that you simply can’t look away from.
Style inspired by the 1980s and 90s makes a bold appearance in Han’s art, particularly Japan’s realistic airbrush style. Growing up seeing her aunt’s graphic design books, the airbrushing, bold choice of colour and smooth textures evidently inform the standout artworks she produces today.
The result of which encourages you to fall into the immersive world of ethereal wonder and curiosity.
Following the male-gaze trope, Han’s work almost always places women at the forefront of the piece. Oddly enough, cats seem to make quite a few appearances too. Han says the two subjects were the natural pick to her for two reasons: she spends most of her life with cats, and she is a woman. Makes sense, if you ask me.
Something just as captivating as Han’s work is perhaps the way that she discusses Korean stigmas and realities and her art’s place in a society that is arguably still playing catch-up when it comes to female sexuality.
According to Han, South Korea is taking strides towards changing attitudes about discrimination, institutional misogyny, and digital sex crimes.
“Korea is still a very conservative country…Men’s perception of women’s activism is extremely negative, and a pretty large group of Korean men believe that feminism is just about hating men,” Han said.
It was only a generation ago that mothers in Korea still underwent abortions for female foetuses due to their desire for sons, their mothers often being punished as a result of its illegal status within the country.
With outdated cultural perspectives still entangling themselves within their modern society, Han’s work un-apologetically stands out, continuously challenging the way emotions, sexuality and femininity are received and understood.
Check out Ram Han’s work on Instagram and let us know what you think of her daring, dream-like imagery.