Carnegie Mellon University
051320_final_thesis_YejinLee.pdf (20.45 MB)

Emptiness in Self

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posted on 2022-07-12, 20:34 authored by Yejin LeeYejin Lee

Across this essay, I explore the ways that impermanence guides my practices as an artist working in drawing, photography, video, installation, and performance. I explain my understanding of emptiness which is rooted in Buddhist teachings. These teachings say that change is a constant. The perception of stability and permanence is an illusion. Efforts to create and maintain permanence are always short-sighted, and impermanence is the only constant. These teachings help characterize my practice with a concept of emptiness in self that I use to depict self and materiality within constant processes of change. My work employs minimalist, ephemeralist, and interactive approaches to explore these concepts of emptiness and impermanence. This essay also discusses other artists who explore similar ideas of impermanence: Kim Whanki, Tehching Hsieh, and Walter Schels. In “Emptiness in Self,” I approach the concept of emptiness, understanding the fluxality of self and dissolve the boundary between the self and others. In “Contemplation,” I contemplate my minds and bodies that I regard as myself. These constantly transfer into different conditions, so there is nothing that can be defined as one individual and absolute being. In “Oneness,” I find connection with what I believe as others. Accepting the self as a transforming being, I try to resolve the fear of changing, disappearing, and death. Through my work, I argue that it is wrong to construct a division between life and death; there is, ultimately, no self versus other, no life versus death.




Degree Type

  • Master's Thesis


  • Art

Degree Name

  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Jon Rubin Bob Bingham

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