*Featured photo: left “Rag face #22008-front. Sewing on fabric and photography, 74 x 52 cm, 2022. Copyright Yoon Ji Seon”. Right “Rag face #22008-front. Sewing on fabric and photography, 74 x 52 cm, 2022. Copyright Yoon Ji Seon”
I met Yoon Ji Seon, an internationally renowned Korean artist, in 2018 during a collaboration with ArteMorbida. At that time, our magazine was taking its first steps into the publishing world, and the desire to know, deepen and propose the textile medium and fibre art’s different nuances, languages and declinations led me to search for artists with a new vision and a cultural identity still marginally explored here in Italy.
I was immediately drawn to Yoon Ji Seon’s tapestries by browsing through the many contemporary artworks that art galleries feature on their up-to-date websites. At the time, one of the works from the Rag Face series was on display at the 5th edition of Textile Art of Today 2018.
Autobiographical images of playful, enigmatic, ironic faces, grimaces, winks, crooked mouths and unusual, dishevelled hairstyles immediately caught my attention, arousing my curiosity and great interest.
I contacted Ji Seon thanks to the invaluable collaboration of June Jung of CRAIC AM. As a result, we agreed to an online interview, allowing us to get to know her work, the basis of her artistic research and, for me, the first experience of interviewing an artist who did not move exclusively within the fibre art’s sphere, but who explored the exciting and successful combination of photography and textile. (Interview)
Four years have passed, and Rag Face has enjoyed considerable critical and commercial success with numerous exhibitions in prestigious international galleries. So, on the occasion of Ji Seon’s participation in Fiberart International 2022, of which Artemorbida is a media partner, I asked her to share her artistic and professional career developments with us.
Artist Translation: June Jung / CRAIC AM
The Rag Face series started in 2014 (even though you started creating textile portraits in 2006 with the Sew Me series) and has enjoyed considerable success with the public and critics in recent years. What do you think are the strengths of this project?
To be precise, the Rag face series started in 2010. I was thinking of the title of my solo exhibition, and it became <Rag face> which was more metaphorical than the straightforward expression of <Sew Me>.
The audience seems to view favorably of the point where photography and stitching meet. There are the two-sided image and atypical frame created by the meeting of the instantaneous photographic content and the infinitely repetitive stitching style.
Some people say they like the work because it’s an artist’s face (portrait of an Asian woman), while others recommend using a celebrity’s face. There is a moment where the audience can step in the work, and I think people are attracted to this.
From 2018 to today, when we met during the interview for ArteMorbida, how has the Rag Face series grown and changed? Are there any important differences from the first textile portraits?
In the beginning, I used a photographic printing paper instead of fabric (as attached below). So, there was a sudden process of shimmering, wrinkling and torn, the physical properties of photography itself. However, some process disappeared since I have changed it to print my portraits on fabric for the continuity and preservation of the work. This makes my work process more intense as I can control it by myself. Also, it reduces the number of variables, so the image or form of the work seems to be more organized. On the other hand, it is personally unfortunate that the taste of variables and automatism have decreased. I would like to try to work with paper photography again.
Can you tell us about your participation in Fiberart International 2022 and the recognition of your work through their award?
The meeting of different physical properties (photography and sewing) and the bizarreness of sewing a face seem to attract attention. Thank you for your support and appreciation to my work.
What are the future developments for this series of work that shows an interesting combination of photography and fiber art?
I once sewed on a painting of Lucian Freud in 2010 (as attached below). The title is <Rag face U>, I wanted to study the body rather than the face. The audience was reluctant to see the Rag face series since it was sewn on the artist’s face. So, I tried to sew on the photo of the body hoping to reduce the rejection and approach a little more comfortably to the audience. I want to do more research on body and paper photos.