Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

Jin-me Yoon and Persona: Staging, the Self and Contemporary Photography

Ottawa - November 30, 2006

The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography presents two exhibitions on the theme of identity, Jin-me Yoon: Unbidden and Persona: From the Collection, at the National Gallery of Canada from 1 December 2006, to 9 April 2007.

"These exhibitions deal with a very fertile theme: through imaginative staging, the artists re-create themselves in relation to contemporary society, to project a new reality," commented Martha Hanna, Director of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. "Jin-me Yoon uses the contemporary media of video and photography to reflect on memory, violence and fear. Persona highlights significant works from the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography's extensive collection that explore themes of identity."

Jin-me Yoon: Unbidden
Vancouver artist Jin-me Yoon's exhibition explores the relationship between memory, identity and place. "Unbidden" refers to the way images and memories surface involuntarily in the consciousness. The installation uses video and photographs to bring out universal themes of movement and migration, diaspora and displacement, through war and exile. Examining her own roots, she alludes to the Korean War and the ever-present military tension between North and South, but the works, with evocative titles like "Jungle-Swamp" and "Underbrush", were in fact produced in Kamloops, British Columbia.

The theme of war is explicit in the staged photographs that conjure up the drama of children's games and war movies. It is difficult to know whether these images, so familiar because of the media, recall real events or whether they appear from what our collective imagination now identifies as war. As she peels back the layers of meaning, Yoon addresses the ambient fear that informs much of post 9/11 life.

The unconscious, memory, identity and place are important themes for this artist who, in 1991, created a work entitled Souvenirs of the Self composed of photographs of herself standing rigidly, with no facial expression in a variety of tourist spots in western Canada.

The exhibition Jin-me Yoon: Unbidden is organized by guest curator Susan Edelstein and produced and circulated by the Kamloops Art Gallery.

Persona: From the Collection
The second of the two exhibitions, Persona: From the Collection, uses works from the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography's collection to explore contemporary ideas of self-portraiture and identity. Often incorporating ironic humour, the installation includes works by Mohawk artist Shelley Niro, Leesa Streifler, from Regina, Ojibwa artist Rebecca Belmore now living in Vancouver, Rosalie Favell, a Métis artist who now lives in Ottawa, Rafael Goldchain, born in Chile, and living in Toronto, and the invented self-portraits of the Toronto collective General Idea. Posing a multitude of questions about women's place and role, the identity of a social or cultural group, displacement and sexual orientation, the works demonstrate how differences in class, race, ethnicity, sexuality and gender interact to construct subjectivity.

Due to major construction work begun by the National Capital Commission, these exhibitions will be on view at the National Gallery of Canada. The price of admission to the two exhibitions is covered by general admission to the Gallery's permanent collection: $5.95 for adults, $4.95 for seniors and students, $2.95 for children and $11.90 for a family of two adults and three children. Admission is free for Friends and children under 12.

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