4월 15, 2013 at 1:31 오전 , ,
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By Jeongeun Grace Park

Yuni Kim Lang is a Korean-American Artist growing up in Asia and living in the states now. Because she grew up most of her life as a foreigner in another countries, She learned that she has to understand her roots.

Her main art subject ‘Comfort Hair’ uses cultural signifiers such as the knot to question and explore her Korean identity. The black hair evokes the tactile and visceral, evoking personal identity not only through hair but also adornment

She builds wearable and non wearable sculptures from synthetic materials that transcends its materiality and becomes something organic and bodily.
She is fascinated by the power and meaning we give hair. The intimate and personal relationship we have with our hair is unique to us but is also universal.

Yuni Kim Lang

Here is the voice of Yuni Kim Lang’s inside she wants to share with CultureM viewers.

CultureM (CM): Introduce CultureM about yourself. Where were you born, What art school did you go, Your professional experience as an artist?
Yuni Kim Lang(YKL): Hello Culture M readers. I was born in Korea but moved overseas at the age of 3. I lived as an expat growing up in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing attending International schools. I received my Bachelors at Parsons The New School for Design. Currently, I am in Michigan finishing up my Masters at Cranbrook Academy of Art.

CM: When did you know you want to be an artist, How?
YKL: I know this is a common answer for artists, but I knew it since a very young age. In high school I wasn’t sure if I would become a designer or an artist but I knew it would be related to the visual art world. It’s something in you that others and yourself start to notice, even at a young age.

When my brother and I were both taking calligraphy lessons as a child, the teacher told my mother that most kids would be afraid of the paper so they start making small marks or use the corner of the paper. But apparently I wasn’t afraid to leave a mark, I made bold and broad strokes right in the middle of the paper. I must have believed in what my hands could do.

CM: How did you get an idea about your work?
YKL: Because I grew up most of my life as a foreigner in someone else’s country, even at a very young age, I learned that it was important to understand my roots. It became very important for me to understand what made me different from others and I wanted to investigate more of what made me and my culture.

I constantly go back to Korean and Chinese culture to dig up visual treasures. What history has to offer is mind blowing. In my work, I recreate them in a new context and transform it into something new. The visual elements that I use become a key component of the work and a starting point for me. Spending time and researching about the different layers of meaning and stories embedded in them, I analyze it until it makes sense to me. Until it becomes my own language and tool to communicate my experience.

CM: What does it mean for you to be Korean or Korean-American artist in the states?
YKL: Being away from Korea always makes me long for Korea. Longing for something can result in something beautiful. I am not sure if I would have the same desire and yearning for my cultural identity if I had grown up in Korea all my life. Sometimes distance can give you the space and opportunity to really appreciate the things you can easily look over.

For me, being in the States and working along with all the other American artists, I feel more responsibility to share and introduce my culture and my identity as an artist. Being a Korean artist in America is probably the reason why my work deals with themes such as culture and identity.

Yuni Kim Lang

CM: What is your purpose of being an artist? 
YKL: Being an artist is being who I am. I am passionate about making and creating. So the most important purpose it fulfills is that it lets me live life to the fullest.
My personal goal as an artist is to continue to share with the world what Korea and the Asian culture has to offer to this ever globalizing world. As the world becomes more globalized and international, where we all become melting pots, I think it’s important to hold onto our roots and culture because there is so much beauty in it.

CM: Please tell us your opinion about Asia art market future.
YKL: Asia’s art future has never looked brighter. And I am very proud to say that Korea has one of the most developed and sophisticated contemporary art scenes in Asia. I am very lucky to be working as a Korean artist at this day and age.

CM: As a Korean artist what is your best challenge?
YKL: As a Korean/Asian artist, explaining to your parents and family what it is that you are doing can be very challenging. My parents till this day still ask me what an artist does and what exactly is the meaning of my work. Not many people understand what contemporary art is and question the purpose and function of its existence. I often felt frustrated but I’ve learned to laugh it off now. Part of being an artist is to accept that not everyone will understand what you are doing. But hopefully many will be able to feel something.

CM: What is your future plan?
YKL: I will continue to make work that reflects my experience and identity as a Korean women. I want to make more people experience a beauty that has been forgotten or not fully appreciated in a new form. My plan is to keep living life to the fullest.

CM: Who is your mentor?
YKL: Anne Wilson. She is a great artist but also a great teacher. She is my mentor. I had an opportunity to work with her and she has taught me a lot. How to work as an artist and keep yourself motivated. Ai Weiwei is also an artist I greatly respect.
“I think my stance and my way of life is my most important art.” Ai Weiwei

CM: Where do you get inspired usually?
YKL: I am inspired and fascinated by people. I am constantly looking back in history and the present, to understand what we find such deep meaning in. The smallest things in life to the most ancient historical rituals. Fashion is also a big inspiration for me. Since I have lived in big cities most of my life, I am always interested in what the newest fashion trend is. I think the merging of these different worlds is what’s fascinating. You don’t have to separate art from fashion, history or anything.

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