Born in Seoul, Joo-Hee Yang grew up in an ambience of “concrete and neon lighting”. Unlike her, her homeland is blithely unconcerned by historical markers: every reminder of the past is torn down and replaced by glittering new buildings, with nothing but a plaque to mark its passing. Nature too seems to be meeting the same fate – while also peeping through in Yang’s work. As an artist she reacts to given contexts, defying the rule of the synthetic with intimations of the organic. Her installations are the product of long and arduous toil, most often involving materials she has not previously worked with. There is no trace of the standardised in her practice: fluctuation is all. Gazing at her shattered cinder blocks and earth-covered floors, we are at a loss to know if her aesthetic concern is with building sites or ruins. Far removed from Korea’s consumerist hysteria, Joo-Hee Yang journeys from one artist’s residency to the next, tackling new traditions as she goes and setting as much store by process as by the results she abandons to the context of their birth.
Charlotte Cosson & Emmanuelle Luciani