Mimi Youn Seoul, South Korea

Mimi Youn is a South Korean artist who graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art in London with a M.F.A. in Fine Art in 2008. She was awarded the Lens Culture/Rhubarb Rhubarb Photo festival  book Award  in 2008, and in 2009 was an Artist in Residence at Cite International des arts, Paris. She has exhibited in the US, throughout Europe and Asia. Her artist book “XOXO” is published in 2013 by Datz press. 

Currently Mimi Youn lives and works in Seoul. 

Mimi Youn

Mimi Youn was chosen by photographer Tao Douay

Laatikkomo’s interview with Mimi Youn January 21st, 2018


L:  Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?
MY:  I was born and grew up in Andon, South Korea until 18 years old and moved to Seoul for studying photography. After that I had lived London to study fine art for few years and lived in Paris for artist residence program. All the cities that I lived have influenced my work and me through various experiences in different cultures.


L:  What is your earliest memory of photography?

MY:  My grandfather had run a portrait studio around 50 years in my hometown, I believe I have always felt familiar with photography from when I was a little girl.  My earliest memory of photography is my grandfather’s photo studio, large format camera and his dark room.


L: In your work, you use diverse means for creating an image; some images are captured at a specific moment from a specific angle, while others are composed by arranging objects or built from other, existing images. Can you reveal what goes into your process for the creation of a series?

MY: Yes, I like very much to take photos some moments or some places, but also, I have considered what photography is for long time. So, my work has changed gradually depending on my mind.

In my recent work I am folding, crushing photographs to make shape and retaking it as  photographs.


L: Apart from photography, do you also work with other art forms, or, what kinds of art, influence your work as a photographer?

MY:  I have influenced other art form like painting, drawing and sculpture. Especially I am interested in installation work using photographs for example Anette Messager’s work. It awakes me to see a different perspective and new expressions about  photography. Also, literature and Buddhism inspired me too.


L: Photography is often used to talk about the past, nostalgia and the unattainable, but you are also using photography to look at lost or hidden memory. What are your thoughts on the distortion or preservation of memory through photography?

MY: Memory looks like a camera that records clearly and replays faithfully our past. But remembering is influenced by various things kind of individual perceptions, experiences, social environment and knowledges etc. So, memory is incomplete and subjective.  It play a vital role in human beings, we may distort or modify memories unconsciously to survive. I have interested in distorted time and memories for few years.

In my previous work, I used polaroid films as a material rather than a medium. So, I scratched, cut text off the surface of the Polaroid. Since than I have thought photograph have physical similarities with memory. Photographs exist for remembering, but it’s fragile. It’s damaged easily and simply abandoned.

Therefore, I started creating distorted, erased and modified memory using abandoned photographs.  I also have been eager to see multi-dimensional shape forms of transformed  memories. I make a photographic object folding, bending and crumpling and take pictures of it carefully.


L: What main questions would you like your work to inspire in the viewer through your work? Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to ask: can you name feelings that you would like to evoke through your work?

MY:  It’s a tough question. I just visualized my idea in my way, so I believe that viewers 
better to enjoy my work in their own way. Every person is different. It will be good if I get each different comment from viewers.


L:  Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?

MY:  Memory, Human being, Imperfect, Present, life goes on.


Thank you so much Mimi!!