Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away, 1998-9

Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away, 1998-9

When images of popular, but distant locations are brought to your attention through the tourism industry, how do you know to believe what you see? How is it easier to associate a place with the symbols, myths and promises carried with these images, rather than marginalized histories in the locations that inspired them?

In her series Touring Home From Away (1999), the artist Jin-me Yoon explores the possibilities of taking apart the touristic and mythical narratives that surround a landscape through photography – here focussing on Prince Edward Island. Over the course of a residency at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, Yoon explored landscapes and common sites of PEI’s significant tourism industry, to tease out a sense of cultural identity and belonging, one distinguished from the narratives and locations that contribute to the construction of PEI’s branding as a tourist destination.

Re-working perceptions of the island through such popular narratives as Anne of Green Gables (which she evokes through several symbols in the bottom photo), Yoon contextualises the construction of the island’s imaginary by positioning figures in the foreground gazing at the locations of the background, echoing the dissonance between those viewing the photographs and the touristic locations represented. Through this dissonance, the artist exposes the constructed nature of both touristic images as well as the sense of subjectivity and belonging associated to a place.

Jin-me Yoon is a Korean-born Canadian artist, who emigrated to Canada at the age of eight. Currently she lives and works in Vancouver, B.C., and teaches at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.

Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away, panel 9b, 1998-9 (112 KB)

Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away, panel 9b, 1998-9 (112 KB)

“During a residency . . . in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, during the summer of 1998, I researched and produced photographic images that explore the ways in which myths are manifest in the tourist imaginary of PEI. Utilizing sites with recognizable and “condensed” meanings, (rural landscapes, lighthouses, red soil, churches, Green Gables, strip malls, and golf courses, etc.), I placed myself and members of my extended family, along with Island residents, in various locations, staging images of the landscape that highlight the constructed nature, of place and its assumed identities. In Touring Home From Away (1999), by re-working the repositories of meaning embedded in the idea of PEI, I continue an ongoing interest in exploring the cultural function of landscape and representations of place as they pertain to the body and subjectivity” (the artist)

Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away, panel 4b, 1998-9

Jin-me Yoon, Touring Home From Away, panel 4b, 1998-9

Here’s a great Chester Fields post on Jin-me Yoon’s Souvenirs of the Self, also exploring the question of identity in relation to generic cultural images of Canada.

How does Yoon’s approach to the relationship between artist, landscape and belonging differ from Penner Bancroft’s (described in the last post)? How do the personal narratives of the photographic works offer a renewed perspective on the histories tying migration to land?

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