Hyun Mi Yoo

Hyun Mi Yoo (Born in 1987, South Korea, currently lives and works in Seoul, South Korea)


Artist and writer Hyun Mi Yoo is currently based in Seoul, Korea and has lived and worked in New York throughout her 20s and 30s. She was the winner of Ilwoo Photography Award in 2011, one of the most prestigious contemporary art awards in Korea, hosted by Ilwoo Foundation.

Yoo’s unique approach to producing photographic works of art challenges and twists the conventional notion of aesthetic value of a work of art in the contemporary era by crossing over the boundaries of genres, reflected onto her cosmic point of view on our everyday surroundings. Yoo’s works link and converge two Eastern and Western thoughts in her treatment of ‘still-life painting’, the Buddhist notion of the individual’s state of ‘being’ in relation to the vast expanse of cosmology and the seventeenth-century Baroque concept of the ‘Vanitas’.

At first glance, her work can be viewed as a simple photograph or video. On closer observation, however, the viewer’s eye slowly realise that the work actually involves multidisciplinary art practices, including sculpture, painting, installation, performance and more – activating a conflation of senses and impressions.

Her artistic process starts with setting a stage in her personal surroundings, a corner of her studio, staircase or the living room in her house, with the carefully chosen but surrealistically presented set of objects. Yoo then proceeds to paint these real-life objects, covering every inch of their surfaces with layers of paint and brushstrokes, choreographing her stage into a phantasmagoric scene. Finally, the artists (re)captures this scene by taking a photographic image with her camera, reducing the three-dimensional composition into a two-dimensional realm, thus creating a complex interplay of different universes at the expense of the viewer.