At Confederation Center, Jin-Me Yoon Makes Herself Disappear


THE DAILY PIC (#1380): Jin-Me Yoon is a Korean-Canadian artist well known for a series of photos where she inserted herself into various über-Canadian settings, as a way of exploring her identity as a non-white Canuck. That history made a more recent bunch of photos by Yoon seem like a vast departure, when I recently caught sight of them at the art gallery of the Confederation Center in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (yes, PEI, the Canadian province that breeds all those mussels).

Each of the new images presents a classic bit of forest or garden from the West Coast. (Yoon lives and teaches in British Columbia.) But instead of seeing Yoon herself perched in those notably Canadian landscapes, all we get is an elegantly curled sheet of black rubber, maybe a bit bigger than a standard yoga mat. At first, it looks as though Yoon is almost buying into the hot new trends in abstraction – almost as though she were photographing some new sculptures by her younger compatriot Julia Dault. But then, given Yoon’s artistic history, it’s hard not to start reading the black-rubber sheet as a stand-in for the artist herself, but this time in an almost complete negation of personhood – closer to a void than a presence of any kind. I was reminded, chillingly, of the winding sheet that bears Christ in all those 16th-century Depositions.

I don’t mean to be morbid or maudlin, but, deliberately or not, Yoon seems to have rendered the void we all fall into at last. (Courtesy  the artist and Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver)

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