Jayoung Yoon is a New York-based artist born in Korea. She is a multidisciplinary artist. She has combined hair sculptures, performance, video and photography to create an environment and atmosphere that conveys her concepts of timelessness and perception of being present.
My work deals with the perception of being “present” in any given moment. By developing our ability to focus our attention away from thinking and direct it into the body, we become fully conscious of being and become present in the moment. I am interested in creating images that invite people to pay attention to, as well as appreciate subtle moments. I combine hair sculptures video, photography and performance to create an environment and atmosphere that conveys my concepts of ‘Heightened Awareness’ and ‘Being in the Now’.
By using the ephemeral, tactile qualities of materials, I transform the invisible thoughts of the mind into my physical art works that convey intimate feeling and direct attention to the body. My delicate and unique use of human hair as a medium adds an important visceral and tactile element to my art. The hair sculptures that I create are full of both deliberate, skilled craftwork and ethereal, vulnerable transience. Additionally, the growth, shedding and lasting remnants of hair complements and intermingles with my video and photography to further touch on the passage of time and questions of past, present and future.
Hair has a duality: the tactile material quality suggests the present, while its representation of memory simultaneously suggests the past. I use hair because it is from the body. It gives us a more corporal feeling than nylon or cotton thread. In respect to this material quality, hair also has an ethereal presence and vulnerability. It gives the feeling of the subtle moment. Hair is one of the parts of the body that grows as time goes by. As it grows longer, it represents accumulating time and memory. Since its physical properties make it last long after death, hair is an especially appropriate symbol of remembrance and spirituality. It means physical mementos of a departed soul to me.
Therefore, hair is very successful in representing spirituality from mundane material. The process of my work -- weaving and crossing the hair by hand – also represents memory and time. While I repeat a simple action to make hair sculpture, I have a thousand thoughts on my mind. The time I spend making the hair sculpture is the same as the amount of my thoughts. It is the residue of my past. I combine hair sculpture with performance to draw my art into the present, creating an immediate connection with the viewer and the surrounding world. Through the performance, I take the viewer out of the constant stream of modern life. I offer an artistic experience in which one can slow down, pause and, in a sense, transcend time. Therefore my performance becomes a meditative practice for deepening the awareness of the moment, and a cleansing experience for the viewers. The performances are sometimes comprised of long-term actions, involving endurance, and silence.
My work blurs the distinction between hair sculpture, video, photography and performance by synthesizing different formats and incorporating my own body into my art. I not only translate my own body and thoughts into the work, but also provoke the viewer to rethink their own personal awareness.
b. 1979, Seoul, South Korea
Lives and works in New York, NY