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Artist Yeon Jin Kim

Yeon Jin Kim

New York, USA


South Korean, b. 1978   —   Yeon Jin Kim’s multidisciplinary practice includes animated films and drawings, cut-paper book works and reinvisioned Korean Jogakbo. Born and educated in Seoul, she moved fifteen years ago to New York City where she continues to work. Kim`s years away from Korea have provided a distanced perspective on her upbringing. In her work she celebrates and updates aspects of Korean aesthetics and traditions while investigating and critiquing the pervasive governmental indoctrination and misinformation she experienced throughout her education. She has been working with and altering her text books from high school in Korea in order to disentangle and reveal the ways that school books were used to promote a positive image of the dictatorship and to hide repression and abuse. As a child Kim was introduced to Jogakbo (traditional Korean wrapping cloths) by her aunt, who was particularly talented in traditional Korean arts. It was one of her uniquely beautiful Jogakbo, given to Kim by her mother, that inspired her to update this traditional Korean art form by stitching together pieces of commercial plastic bags found on the streets of New York City and Seoul. As in traditional Jogakbo, the scrap elements have all been previously used and are sewn together to create improvisatory compositions. Kim`s narrative videos are shot from scroll drawings and elaborate miniature models and characters made from cardboard, paper, and other materials. Recent video pieces include a story that takes place on a city-sized spaceship, a jungle where once-extinct species return and join new hybrids, a monster/comedy and a ghost story. For example, “Ghost in the Yellow House” is based on her cousin’s experience moving to upstate New York from Korea to live with her husband and newborn child. As she experiences alienation, language issues and social isolation, her American dream disintegrates and she experiences a hostile ghost in the form of a white woman. Kim's most recent solo exhibition, Konglish, was presented in 2020 at Place Mak in Seoul. Other recent solo shows have been held at the Society for Domestic Museology in New York, Albright College in Reading, PA and at the Cluster Gallery in Brooklyn, all in 2019. Her films have recently been screened at the Philadelphia Asian Film Festival, New Filmmakers New York, Blow-Up Arthouse Film Fest Chicago and at the Glimmerglass Film Festival in Cooperstown, NY. Her work was featured in the book "50 Contemporary Women Artists", edited by Heather Zises and John Gosslee, published by Schiffer Publishing in 2018. She has done numerous residencies and currently teaches at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Westchester Community College.

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