A public garden & cultural center

Yeon Ji Yoo

The Fight
September 1 – October 14, 2012

Yeon Ji Yoo’s work explores the cyclical transfer of nutrients, memories, histories, genetic legacies and life’s acquisitions from one being to another and one generation to another. Her art is informed by recollections of the rural farmland in which she lived during her early childhood in South Korea. For The Fight, Yoo’s sculptural installation in the Sun Porch, the artist has created an imaginary woodland composed of translucent trees, flora, dying fauna and diabolical roots. The project is a highly personal reflection on the nature of memory, and pays homage to her grandmother who suffered dementia during the last years of her life. It speaks to the impossibility of holding onto experiences as time passes and memories diminish or are transformed. The artist tries to imagine what the world might have looked like in her grandmother’s fading mind.

In The Fight, artificial flowers and trees exist in dialogue with the adjacent gardens of Wave Hill. The synthetic environment that Yoo has made serves as a metaphor for the desire to recreate the beauty of the natural world, yet the artist can only represent or simulate nature, never reconstruct it. Yoo’s work investigates the aftermath of human interference in natural surroundings that will eventually be recovered and teeming again with microorganisms and a succession of other species populations. The beasts in the installation are a reference to Haruki Murakami’s novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (1991) in which creatures are involved in removing traces of memory from people’s minds. Here the animals have fallen on the forest floor; their bodies decompose and are overgrown with plants and roots that absorb the nutrients needed to fuel new life.

Yoo received a BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY; an MFA from the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY; and an MS in Environmental Science from the College of Staten Island. Her work has been exhibited in venues throughout New York City, including the Queens Museum of Art; Crossing Art Queens; Broome Street Gallery; The Commons Gallery at NYU; Pratt Manhattan Gallery; and the Donnell Library Windows, organized by Chashama. Yoo was recently an artist-in-residence at The Cooper Union as part of the school’s Outreach Artist-Teacher program. She teaches art at Queens College, the Queens Council on the Arts and public schools in Queens. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeon Ji Yoo
The Fight, 2012
Installation view in Wave Hill Sun Porch
Rice paper, plastic flowers, acetate, recycled plastic bottles and cheese cloth
Dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist