London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Yu Jinyoung: the LIFE, at Choi and Lager, Cologne

This post is marginally outside the normal scope of LKL’s exhibition notices. But I’m posting it in the hope that I can persuade Jari to bring Jinyoung’s work to Union Gallery’s London space in Teesdale Street, E2. It’s a while since he did so and I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Yu Jinyoung: the LIFE

18 May – 29 July 2018
Choi and Lager Gallery | Wormserstrasse 23 | Cologne 50677 | Germany |
Wednesday to Friday 11.00 – 13.00 + 14.00 – 18.00 | Sunday 11.00 – 14.00 and by appointment

Yu Jinyoung: Me & Them #4
Me & Them #4 (2014). Poly vinyl chloride, Fibre-reinforced plastic. 126(H) x 44(W) x 20(D) cm (detail)

See a full set of images on Choi and Lager website.

Choi and Lager are pleased to present “the LIFE”, an exhibition of new works by Korean artist, Yu Jinyoung.

Yu Jinyoung’s serenely animated figures stand motionless, striking whoever stands before them. Their colourful, bold faces and accessories, ground the sculptures, contrasting greatly with the weightless transparency of their bodies. Their conspicuous faces seem like masks, portraying conflicting artificial and visually beauty. At first glance, their expressions seem indifferent and sad, however a closer look reveals a fun and playful impression. The viewer is challenged with these clashing emotions. Upon inspecting the work closely, it is revealed the physical injuries to these striking ‘characters’ that Jinyoung has created. These figures are merely trying to maintain flawless facades. Due to their transparent bodies, they are inherently forced to present their empty inner lives; enigmatically distanced and isolated. The artist plays with the contrast between transparency and solidness, violence and technical perfection, which inspires the unattainable desire to liberate them from their constrained surroundings.

“the LIFE” follows the artist’s first solo exhibition “I’m OK” at CHOI&LAGER in 2013. “the LIFE” focuses mainly on works produced in the last four years, which stay true to her previous context however this exhibition features new figures composed in groups allowing them to merge into one single body. In this way, Jinyoung unlocks various time periods that are simultaneously illustrated by sculpture and shifts the focal point of the subject matter away from the discrepancy between the inner and the outer self towards a depiction of the various roles which all of us play throughout our lifetime.

This exhibition is a critical representation of an individuals ever-changing position within the modern day power hierarchy. One may sometimes find themselves influential and dominant, then sometimes weaker, unimportant and vulnerable. This results in the relatable human emotion of discontent, which the artist’s sculptures portray. By doing so, Yu Jinyoung criticises the marked discrepancy between Korea’s rapid economic growth, which in parallel with the traditional hierarchies, accords financial success and political influence to a small minority only.

Yu Jinyoung was born in Korea in 1977. She lives and works in Seoul, where she graduated from Sungshin Women’s University with a degree in sculpture. She regularly exhibits at various cities including UNION Gallery, London, The Michael Horbach Foundation, Cologne and the Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium in Norway.

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