"I find that what may appear to be personal narratives in fact imply larger social and historical considerations. Seen in this light, what I choose to recount is no longer about me as an isolated individual."
As an artist working with photography and video, Jin-me Yoon is an important member of the vibrant contemporary art community in Vancouver. Her work is recognized across Canada and internationally for contributing to the ongoing discussions concerning identity and place.
Yoon emigrated with her family from Korea to Vancouver in 1968. While studying for her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where she graduated in 1985, she also worked and traveled widely in Asia. In 1990 she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Emily Carr College of Art and Design (now known as Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design). While studying contemporary art and poststructuralist and postcolonial theory in the 1980s, she was exposed to numerous significant artists and theorists engaged with questions of sexual and cultural difference. In 1992, after completing a Master of Fine Arts degree from Concordia University in Montreal, Yoon returned to Vancouver to begin teaching in the Visual Arts Department of Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts, where she is now an Associate Professor. Since 1989 her work has been exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Much of Yoon’s work, in which she often uses the self as subject, addresses the social and historical narratives, constructions and representations that surround questions of identity. Drawing on the necessary but problematic labels she bears and is yet not bound to – Korean-Canadian, artist, mother, woman – Yoon uses a variety of popular and art historical references and subtle humour to explore how images, and the associations her body carries, function in a wider context. Works such as Souvenirs of the Self and Unbidden deal with interrelated questions of identity, memory, place and displacement. She is currently working on a project in Seoul, Korea that extends her interest in history, identity, inclusion, and space, with a particular emphasis on the city and gesture.