Jayoung Yoon

My art draws upon diverse spiritual practices that emphasize clearing the mind and directing attention into a heightened awareness of the present, and often the body. To convey those concepts, the artworks are a synthesis of hair sculpture, video, performance, and painting.

Human hair, at once tactile and ephemeral, has become my visual nexus for the intersection between the physical and spiritual realms. As a material, hair is intimately corporeal and focuses the viewer’s attention on the body. As it grows, hair represents the accumulation of time. Since its physical properties make it last long after death, it is an especially appropriate symbol of remembrance.

I use the hair sheared from my head, then transform it into sculptures. I make shaped forms out of the woven hair that represent invisible thoughts. In my videos, I connect the ‘invisible thoughts’ to my head, often lifting slowly into the air and disappearing, as a cleansing gesture. The videos become ritualistic meditation ceremonies. My head is shaved --as monks do--representing a detachment from materialist identity. I meditate with my back to the camera, embodying a detachment from gender, culture, and thought. The immersive quality of videos in conjunction with my androgynous appearance invites viewers to inhabit my body, and experience the process of clearing the mind.

In my hair sculptures, I tie hair lengths together piece by piece. Weaving and knotting the hair by hand instead of using machinery creates unique, organic shapes both in the details and in the larger form. Some of my hair sculptures, such as Web of life, The lotus leaf, and The cloud, are meant to represent ephemeral moments that could be found in nature. The weightless hair sculptures move from the airflow created by a viewer’s movements and from the environment. Those small movements in space, on an intricate scale, shift the awareness toward subtle perceptions that are often taken for granted.

In my hair painting series, my hair appears submerged in acrylic in compositions of grids. I pared them down to the most reductive elements, to approach a simple space of perceiving structure fading away into the painted ether, representing thoughts dissolving, or surfacing between states of the conscious and unconscious mind.


Jayoung Yoon is a New York-based artist born in Korea. She is known for interdisciplinary artworks using Human Hair as a medium. Selected solo shows include Here Art Center, NY, 2013, Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, DE, 2011 and the Museum of New Art, MI, 2009. She was awarded the BRIC Media Arts fellowship, 2014, Franklin Furnace Grant Fund, 2010 and several Artist Residencies including Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing space, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Sculpture Space. Most Recently, she was awarded the Vermont Studio Center Fellowships, 2015 and The Artist in the Marketplace program at Bronx Museum, 2016. She received her M.F.A. degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, 2009 and her B.F.A. from Hongik University in Korea, 2004.

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