It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which for me means lying in bed hoping the holiday season is over. Beyond the confines of my bedroom, the streets resonate with joyous students relieved of having completed their exams, engaged in noisy conversations as they journey home for the festive season.
However, this year, as I observe my surroundings, I see my friend Robert – who has by now mastered the art of curating his Tinder profile- devoided of happiness, his eyes mirroring a profound emptiness. I see my neighbor Sarah seeking solace in clouds of weed, in a desperate attempt to escape from her own reality. I see my dear friend Stephanie, who recently chose to return to her parents’ home to work on her art film. I see all their quiet struggles, and I find myself asking: who genuinely experiences happiness during this time of year?
As I continue to explore the confines of my solitude during this so-called festive season, I discover the South Korean artist Minyoung Choi.
In the muted glow of a winter evening, a solitary figure lays in bed, gazing through the window. The room is softly tinted with a hint of green light coming from the outside world. Yet, within these walls, a sense of emptiness hangs in the air.
Nearby, a fishbowl sits on a table, housing a lively community of fish. Their movement seems to contrast with the stillness of the room, like they’re in their own little world, swimming about without a care, oblivious to the human that lies next to them.
Minyoung Choi‘s work beautifully illustrates a shared truth: both fish and humans reside in their respective enclosed spaces. One confined to the boundaries of their room, the other within the glass walls of their aquatic world. Both are trapped in their own way.
The joy of Christmas has always felt out of reach for me. Over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas joy is a myth woven into the fabric of our societal expectations. And somehow I find some peace in acknowledging that perhaps many others share a similar disconnect.
As the countdown for the New Year begins, I cocoon myself in my thoughts while listening to Blonde Redhead, and I drift off to sleep while gazing at the aquarium in my bedroom.
Artwork: Minyoung Choi
For more artwork by this artist, visit : https://minyoungchoi.co.uk/
Words by Elise Wolff