Yeon Jin Kim
Yeon Jin Kim’s practice is based on traditional techniques put to new uses. Kim makes scroll drawings and constructs miniature models and characters from cardboard, paper, and other materials. She then uses them to film narrative videos. This deliberately low-tech process is often combined with various animation techniques. Kim’s two recent video pieces are a ghost story and a monster/comedy. “Ghost in the Yellow House” is based on Kim’s cousin’s experience moving to upstate New York from Korea to live with her husband and newborn child. As she experiences alienation, language issues and social isolation, her American dream disintegrates and she experiences a hostile ghost in the form of white woman.

In “Monster Me”’ an ancient monster emerges from the “ Old Faithful” geyser in Yellowstone National Park and flies to Jackson Hole. It then attacks the artist at the Teton Art Lab Residency, devouring her. As it flies back to the geyser, the monster and the artist slowly merge into one. These recent videos have been influenced by her experience of being an immigrant in the United States.

As a child, Kim was introduced to Jogakbo by her aunt who owned a Hanbok (Korean traditional garment) shop. Jogakbo developed as a way for lower-class people to wrap gifts for weddings and other celebratory events in the 17-19th centuries. Scrap pieces of fabric were stitched together, much like quilts, to create attractive wrappings. Kim’s aunt was particularly talented and her Jogakbo were lovely and visually sophisticated. Examples were gifted to family members and Kim’s mother passed hers down to her.

In updating this traditional Korean art form she is stitching together pieces of commercial plastic bags and also drug baggies she finds on the streets where she lives. As in traditional Jogakbo, the scrap elements have all been used, and are sewn together to create compositions influenced by the lived reality of her neighborhood folk.