James Jean Eternal Journey


LOTTE Museum of Art has been facilitating cultural conversations by introducing the global currents of contemporary visual arts to the public. Over the past seasons, we have presented large-scale premieres in Asia of works by several masters of our time, namely Dan Flavin, Alex Katz and Kenny Scharf, whose innovations represent an inflection point in the history of contemporary art. In this new season, LOTTE Museum is excited to introduce James Jean, whose works creatively recount various aspects of reality in fantastic and mythical contexts, with an imaginative rendition of tradition and culture, time and space, and sociopolitical issues. As a fresh university graduate, James Jean began his professional career in his early 20s by creating cover art for DC Comics. Starting in 2008, Jean produced large-scale paintings in which he dismantled the so-called distinctions between commercial art and fine art through the concoction of epic, enigmatic imagery complemented by solid narrative and technical mastery. The current exhibition exclusively showcases nine large-scale works on the motif of the five fundamental colors and media forming the core of pan-Asian visual culture. It also chronicles James Jean’s artistic journey by presenting a collection of over 500 of his works, including roughly 150 comic book covers and 200 drawings that were the main sources of inspiration for his other works, as well as large-scale paintings, sculptures, and video art. As an Asian-American, Jean has consistently explored the dual nature of his identity through his works, a quest consummated in the visual narrative of the eternal wanderer fluctuating between the agony and ecstasy of flirting with, yet never fully belonging to, his past or his present as experienced through the lens of Eastern and Western culture. We hope that this exhibition will provide viewers with a unique opportunity to experience the transformative power of James Jean’s marvelous canvas that combines the intimacy of the innermost self with the palpable challenges of the world around us