Before I met JeongMee Yoon, I visited a zoo to get a sense of the place. In principle, I bring the least amount of information on artists before I meet them. Sometimes, too much information may hinder creative observation. Thus, if possible, I try to meet artists with fresh thought and to be fully absorbed in their works. Photographer JeongMee Yoon`s photos have brought me great sense of joy everytime I watch them. Yoon seems to have performed an artistic magic to transform familiar things into something new and unfamiliar in her body of work. Discovering the artist`s wit is also enjoyable in her photos.
When you meet Yoon`s photos, you may have questions. From when people have kept animals in a zoo? From when people have collected books in a library? How can books be classified in order? Why did the photographer change her mind from taking pictures of a zoo to taking pictures of natural history museum? In projects, Zoo & Zoo II (1998-2000), Natural History Museum (2001), Space-Man-Space, and The Pink & Blue Project, Yoon has tried to voice her thought.
Yoon`s Unique Space
To find out the meaning and roles of a zoo, Yoon started her project "Zoo." She recorded more space than animals. Watching animals kept in a zoo, she felt that they were similar to stuffed animals in a natural history museum because they lost their wild nature. It was why she started the natural history museum project. Meanwhile, in "Space-Man-Space", she recorded various shops in Insadong area which is famous for Korea`s traditional goods and galleries. Insadong is a very unique area where historic values are intermingled with modern necessity such as tourist attractions and souvenirs.
Pink and Blue
Something common can also be something impressive. Kids in photos may be able to remember their precious possession when they get old. Like mass-produced goods, photos can be reproduced endlessly. Children are trying to collect toys and goods that other children also have. Yoon got the idea of starting this pink and blue project when she had found many pink toys and objects in her daughter`s collection. Unknowingly, people have acquired a mindset of "pink for girls and blue for boys." The photographer tried to express a power structure behind the consumer society in this project.
If I were a curator at MOMA, I would put Yoon in this category.
"JeongMee Yoon, a remarkable artist at present!"