We had the good fortune of connecting with Jayoung Yoon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jayoung, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
My artwork deals with the mind-matter phenomenon, exploring our memory, perception and bodily sensations. Many scientists and spiritual thinkers have found several connections between quantum physics and spirituality. In physics ‘the act of observation changes that which is being observed.’ In spirituality, our thoughts create our own reality. In other words, our mind can affect the matter. So, if we want to change our reality, we need to go to the origin or cause in our mind. For example, there is an ancient Hawaiian Prayer “I Am the I.” The prayer was recited to cleanse negativity from one’s mind and thoughts. It is also based on the teaching that there is nothing separate from ourselves, so cleansing a negative thought inside changes the external world. I often visualize cleansing my thoughts and negative emotions through materiality and process in my artwork. I believe art is a manifestation of each artist’s mind and thoughts which can influence others and change the world. I hope my artworks facilitate psychological healing through the art experience, and people feel a sense of oneness with others, connectivity, and totality.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am an interdisciplinary artist using Human Hair as a medium. I use the hair sheared from my head, then transform the hair into a sculpture. Hair has the potential to embody both mind and matter. In my sculptures I tie hair together piece by piece into nearly invisible forms that represent ineffable thoughts and the conscious and subconscious mind. Also, hair evokes matter through its visceral, tactile quality, and it is literally a trace and product of the human body. In my video, I metaphorically try to cleanse the accumulated sediment of memories, not just my personal memories, but social memories, through immersion in the physicality of the present. Also, the delicate qualities of hair sculpture, invite people to pay attention to the present moment, and heighten their awareness to the subtleties of the site. After I graduated my MFA program, I started to look to nature as a stage for my art. So, I wanted to travel across the world to make video and performance works. I received several artist residency fellowships in Main, Colorado, and Utah in the U.S. as well as Argentina and Iceland. I was able to create several durational performances in nature which involved solitude and pain. For example, for a video, ‘Listening to the Mind,’ I constructed a white space in a field. I cut a hole in the ceiling, allowing natural light to come in from sunrise to sunset. I set up a hair sculpture in the middle of the space and connected it to my ear. My body entered a meditative state while lying still on the floor, for ten hours in silence. While I was lying there, I felt the subtle movement of the hair sculpture, and listened to the bird and insect sounds, and felt the wind and the light changing, and the temperature changing on my naked body. I was totally in the present. It was the first transformative experience I had with my meditative performance. This series of work has led me to get more exhibition opportunities throughout the US. Also, I met an amazing group of artists, who became an important supportive community for my artistic career. It is so hard to make a sustainable career out of being an artist. But, I learned that the most important thing is to continue to make artwork with dedication and focus, and keep trying to listen to my own inner voice everyday.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Day 1 Metropolitan Museum – Central Park Day 2 Cloister Museum – Wave Hill https://www.metmuseum.org/visit/audio-guide/the-met-cloisters https://www.wavehill.org/ Day 3 Storm King Art Center https://stormking.org/ Day 4 Hudson Valley MOCA – Magazzino Italian Art – Dia:Beacon https://www.hudsonvalleymoca.org/ https://www.magazzino.art/ https://www.diaart.org/ Day 5 Thomas Cole house – Frederic Edwin Church house (Olana) http://thomascole.org/ https://www.olana.org/ Day 6 Art Omi Sculpture Park – The School, Jack Shainman Gallery https://artomi.org/ https://jackshainman.com/the_school
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have practiced Vipassana meditation since 2012. Vipassana is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself. The word Vipassana means seeing things as they really are. It begins by observing the natural breath and then continuing close attention to body sensations. https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/index