Monumental Flashback

Monumental Flashback describes various kinds of fragments which have come from the collision between reality and childhood memory and childhood fantasy. The collision between 'recorded incidents', from 90's camcorder tapes or old family photos, and the 'visual memories' of my childhood is a primary concern in my work. The pinkish atmosphere captured in the recordings of my 4th birthday party are quite different from my memories of it and the happy family scene depicted are also very different from the reality of now. I think the party signifies a calm before the storm and in the paintings, I have sought to capture the monumentally theatrical actions of people in the party who are taking a pause from the realities of their lives, they are like actors backstage, and through these people and in the atmosphere of the party, I want to highlight an ironic juxtaposition between character, fantasy, and social grouping.


The central concern of Jaeyeon Yoo’s work is to determine how the personal imaginary world has been constructed in the real world in order to escape from inauthentic reality - how is it enacted or embodied? Informed by her experience growing up in Korea, Yoo’s painting stage the tensions between maintaining tradition and national identity in a cross-cultural context, and a personal desire to escape reality.

Her recent paintings, based on her family’s photographs of celebrations from the ‘90s, come from the collision between reality, childhood memory, and childhood fantasy. Lit by a bright flash, the women and children the populate the weddings and birthday parties are transported in subtly unsettling alternative realities: suddenly outdoors, their features blurred and colours slightly distorted as if screened on an analogue TV, the sense of strangeness heightened by the presence of unexpected creatures.

Interweaving childhood sense of play with adult mediations of ‘reality’, Yoo creates alternative realities, embracing Escapism as a gesture of an imaginary resistance for an inauthentic world.

 The Last Bow (2018)   oil on canvas, 145 x 122 (cm) 
 Farewell (2018)   oil on canvas, 72.7 x 60.6 (cm)  
 Seahorse (2016)   oil on canvas, 100 x 80.3 cm 
 Two in the green (2016)   oil on canvas, 53 x 45.5 cm 
 Child and the Bride (2016)   oil on canvas, 52 x 45.5 cm 
 Birthday Blue (2016)   oil on canvas, 72.7 x 60.6 cm 
 Grass is Sour (2016)   oil on canvas, 116 x 91 cm 
 Three in the Pool (2015)   oil on canvas, 145.5 x 112.2 cm 
 detail: Wedding March     
 Congratulations!   Oil on canvas, 2013 
 Balloons   Oil on panel, 2013 
 green grass   Oil on canvas, 2013 
 Wedding March (2015)   Oil on canvas, 194 x 140 cm 
 Birthday party (2013)   Oil on canvas, 162.2 x 130.3 cm 
 Snowy night   Oil on canvas, 2013