Stephen Friedman Gallery now represents Korean artist Yooyun Yang. Yooyun Yang’s atmospheric paintings are set at nighttime, following her interest in night as a liminal space that offers respite from the repetition of a daily routine. Objects are fundamental to Yang’s work, with motifs of blinds, curtains and railings frequently appearing. By repositioning them through her otherworldly gaze, Yang emphasises how the familiarity of our environment can become uncanny, with objects becoming increasingly unfamiliar the more we pay them attention. A hazy, cinematic quality pervades the work, suggestive of the paintings’ photographic origins.
Cloaked in darkness, the paintings explore the emotional states of Yang’s subjects, conveying feelings of existential anxiety and solitude through the nocturnal ambience of the works. Frequently concealing her subjects’ faces, Yang uses shadow and composition to create distance between the viewer and the subject, articulating the sense of isolation common in what she describes as this ‘age of anxiety’.
Yang paints on hanji paper, traditional Korean handmade paper made from mulberry tree bark, building up layers of diluted acrylic to control the intensity of the colour. Speaking of her paintings, Yang said ‘I want my works to be like a thorn in your mind that pricks from time to time, or like a very gentle fever.’
Yang’s first UK solo exhibition opened at Stephen Friedman Gallery in June 2023.
Yang lives and works in Seoul, Korea. Born in 1985, Yang studied Oriental Painting at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul. The artist has had multiple solo exhibitions in Seoul including at Chapter II; Amado Art Space/Lab; Gallerylux; OCI Museum of Art and Ccot+Incubator. She has also had solo exhibitions at Gallery Bundo in Deagu and Gallery SoSo in Paju. In 2023 Yang is included in a group exhibition at Ulsan Art Museum, Ulsan. In 2022 Yang was included in the 58th Carnegie International at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh and in 2021 in the 8th Chongkundang Yesuljisang at Sejong Museum of Art, Seoul. The artist has also been included in group exhibitions at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Cheongju and Arko Art Center, Seoul. She has carried out residencies at Korea National University of Arts, Seoul; Chapter II, Seoul; Studio White Block, Cheonan; Gyeonggi Creation Center, Ansan-si and Incheon Art Platform, Incheon. Find out More