Art professor Yun Shin has opened her second year at Northwestern with an exhibit inspired by her family in South Korea.
Her exhibit, Reconstructive-Memory Process, is about “containment and preservation and my relationship with my family,” Shin said.
Her work features raw materials, which she says are very important and allude to places and relationships. The exhibit’s untitled pieces show a broad range of ability and creativity through the use of multiple media.
The minimalistic show includes pieces both old and new.
An older piece, which currently consists of a stack 189 blocks of handmade soap, began as 390 blocks. Shin donated the remaining 201 blocks to shelters and churches in need.
“I’ve given away many of the soap blocks, so this piece is only a representation of the original blocks,” Shin said.
A wall hanging designed specifically for this exhibit hangs above the soap blocks. It is constructed of plastic squares that are tinted to match the coloring of the soap. According to Shin, the installation of this piece was difficult because double-sided tape was not strong enough to keep the squares attached to the wall. She remedied this problem by purchasing a clear sheet of plastic to cover the squares.
Another piece was created by Shin during her time at the University of Texas, Austin. She spent four hours a day throughout a period of six months hand-stitching gold thread on top of a white jacket that she received from her father.
Northwestern senior Ann Calsbeek, who attended the exhibit opening, said she was impressed by the thought behind the pieces.
“I slowly realized there was a lot of work that went into it,” Calsbeek said.
Shin’s favorite piece began as a present from her parents.
“I studied the blanket everyday, but didn’t know what to do with it.” Shin said.
After frequenting art and history museums and taking many pictures, Shin came across an exhibit of British paper jackets originally used as protection against the elements, much the same as the blanket that Shin’s parents used in South Korea.
Not only has Shin constructed three jackets from her parent’s blanket, but she has also taken the lining of the blanket and placed it in a small plexiglass box in front of the jackets. The fabric within the box is 100% percent un-dyed cotton, which Shin says is a rarity in the United States.
“I added the cotton lining to show its color and rawness, and it’s still a part of the jackets,” Shin stated.
The exhibit was a product of Shin’s summer break and time spent planning during the school year.
“I want students to see the process,” Shin said. “The work is taxing, but by spending more time on the process you will get a better result.”
Calsbeek said: “It’s exciting, to have the professors teach, give advice and finally get to see their side of things. Once you learn what she did to create everything, it takes on a whole new level of meaning.”
Also included among Shin’s pieces are pencil sketches of a previous workplace of her father’s and paintings which she coated in resin.
And as for her next exhibit, Shin said, “I’m always thinking.”
Reconstructive – Memory Process will be in the Te Paske Gallery on campus until Sept. 13.