Me & Them

about Jin Young Yu

We keep on living as we continuously meet many people and be apart, remember and be forgotten. In this kind of life, we disguise ourselves and live a hypocritical life to distinguish one’s existence and to be recognized from the other. An instinct to find a free and true self, escaping from this yoke can never be concealed. However, the people have to make exaggerated gestures and stiff expressionless faces, and they live with contrary faces as they adapt themselves to this fast modern society. For each moments of being confused and controlled as we live with these numbers of people, we feel an impulse to identify a true face of oneself. “What is the true face of me?”.

“My works are about the ‘invisible people’. I wanted to talk about the stories of the people who said, ‘I definitely don’t know them, but they knew me so well. They said they worked with me for over a year. To me, that person was a transparent existence that neither did or didn’t exist’. It was too simple to define them as ‘the alienated people’ or ‘the depressed people’. Instead, I thought that I, or we, could easily be one of them. My works are about people who, instead of getting along with others, choose to keep a distance from them, and be invisible or be left alone unconcerned. Instead of trying to fit into the world, they climb into a space of their own and reject other people’s intrusions.



“My works feign expressionless faces. They are holding their tears back and swallowing them, or they try to put on a cool face despite the traces of tears on their faces. Or simply, they seem to have something hiding behind the hurried pretense of their expressionless faces. Looks on their faces that don’t make people approach them with ease — a subtle look of suspicion and caution keeps others from easily approaching them.

Jin portrays truth and illusions of a family with a house, the hideaway of these people, as a background. The artist’s previous work expresses a portrait of humans trapped in a society, and she has moved the meeting of her work into a fence called as home. Through everyday lives of family in very limited space called home, the inner world of family is closely examined.
The family wants to turn away their eyes from all discords and indifferences that are happening in a form of home, which should be intimate the most. They refuse an exposure to the outside by hiding themselves because they don’t want to show their pretentious look as a friendly family. How the alienated family disguises themselves as friendly ones is portrayed through an uncomfortable meeting with guests who attend to family events like big holidays. The children, who came to terms with reputations and bluffs of adults from guest’s visitation, automatically adapt themselves to hold down their emotions. The emotion spreads so far as to a dog.


Since her works are about “invisible people”, Jin wanted complete transparency, so she had to research the perfect material for a long time. She needed something transparent that represented the shell modern day people. So, she chose PVC after seeing it on some laminated photos and cards. It took many trials and errors trying to figure out how to infuse 3-dimensionality to this material. She sculpts — out of clay — a human form and makes a plaster cast of it. After making a mold out of the plaster cast, she lays on sheets of PVC, apply heat to it, and form the sheet to fit the plaster mold. Jin has to press down on the PVC along with heat until the PVC completely conforms to the plaster mold, which takes an incredible amount of time.

Born in Korea, 1977, she lives and works in Seoul.




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