Gyopo Portraits comprises embossed paper works presenting Korean faces collected from Korean ethnic newspapers circulating in the United States or from interviews I conducted. This new series is a continual exploration of hybridized identity in the Korean diaspora, that is, how Korean immigrants feel anxiety and re-conceptualize a sense of ethnic homogeneity and cultural identity when they experience discontinuity of place and a sense of otherness.
About Gyopo Portraits, Lilly Wei, a New York-based art critic and contributing editor at ARTnews, and ArtAsiaPacific, writes:
“The works are quite beautiful, embossed images on thick paper, white on white, accompanied by a few words in Korean and English occasionally as a kind of signage. The overall whiteness makes their individual faces difficult to see, becoming almost like ghost imprints emerging from the whiteness, an undifferentiated, unidentified abstract space, then vanishing, the results of the lighting conditions and where the viewer is standing. In turn, that visual shift and uncertainty underscores the equally elusive identities of those who are being depicted, immigrants in need of creating their new place in the world and their new outward guises, reconciling it with their inmost beings.”
Gyopo Portraits, embossing on paper, 26″x36″, 2018
embossing on paper, 18″x18″, 2017–2018
Installation views at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida