Beneath 2012

Jin-me Yoon, Beneath, 2012

Jin-me Yoon, Installation view of Beneath, 2012
Multi-channel video installation, wood, glass, mirrors, steel, and bricks, dimensions variable, varied durations: 42:36 to 45:20
Vancouver Art Gallery

In 2006 Jin-me Yoon began a series in which she abandoned the bipedal stance assumed by modern man and investigated the world from a horizontal perspective, propelling her black-clad figure along the ground on a rolling platform in a variety of historically significant landscapes. With Beneath, she took her performance to the streets of Vienna, crawling from Sigmund Freud’s residence and medical office to the Heldenplatz, where in 1938 Hitler announced the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany.


Heldenplatz in Vienna, Austria, in 1938, photographer unknown. This image depicts a Nazi rally at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, where Adolf Hitler announced the annexation of the Federal State of Austria into the German Reich.

She had started the series during a residency at Ssamzie Space in Seoul, Korea, where she addressed the rapid pace of postwar development that ushered in an era of historical amnesia in Korea and explored the physical and psychic toll of economic progress on the body. Beneath was one of the final works in the series: created at a time when the right-wing populist Freedom Party was gaining momentum in Austria with its anti-immigrant message, it sought to probe Europe’s unconscious.


The specific route that Yoon took followed the Ringstrasse, where Freud walked daily until he was no longer free to do so, because he was Jewish. As Yoon comments, “I don’t think the father of the so-called unconscious could have been anything else than an Other. Using a series of projections, architectural structures, and refracting mirrors, this installation asks: What do we see when we look beneath the surface? What histories of trauma underlie our current realities?

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