2012 has exciting things lined up for Jazoo Yang, a Seoul-based visual artist working across various mediums, including grand painting, installation, portrait work, and performance art. She will be exhibiting in New York, Shanghai, and Berlin, as well as featuring her provocative work throughout the year in South Korea.
Having completed residencies in Beijing, Busan and Jeju over the past few years, Yang is quite active in Seoul’s contemporary art scene. As an elaboration on her own solitude, a product of the constantly shifting physical and cultural landscape of South Korea’s urban space, Yang endeavors to explore notions of history and loss in her work. Influenced by the present-day neglect of social legacy and the ‘culturelessness’ of the modern city, Yang aims to salvage that which lies on the fringe of our social consciousness.
In expansive urban areas, the interminable demolitions, reconstructions, and renovations of the modern era have resulted in an overwhelming loss of familiarity, one which alienates individuals within the city that is their home. This trend is not unique to Seoul; the uprooting of one’s physical and cultural history is a global phenomenon that is both felt and observed in major cities the world over. Yang’s overseas visits this year will be crucial for her research, and will undoubtedly yield exciting results, even impromptu performances or installation projects.
Using entire rooms and buildings as a canvas, the artist recreates individual histories by collecting, assembling, and interpreting found artifacts. Utilizing basic forms such as tape and stencil, Yang’s installations intend to draw attention to spaces that are easily ignored or forgotten. By sharing these visual stories, the artist converts abandoned buildings into historic sites, transforming the artifacts within into relics with legacies worth remembering.
Perhaps my favourite of Yang’s works are her large-scale Excretion paintings. Her highly physical method results in works that are grand, yet also intimate and expressive (shades of Twombly, anyone?) Using primarily her hands, she harnesses the momentum and intensity of her moving body to document her present emotional state. The excretions, then, become a form of evidential catharsis, available for shared contemplation by artist and viewer. Yang intends to provide a glimpse into her soul, a genuine expression of her own solitude and a gesture of humanity within the bleakness of the big city.