Yela An
Artist Statement
The photo series _sane (_さんへ) consists of digital reprinted analog photos on laid paper and embossed alphabet letters in Japanese. The embossing letters consist of a message to a person who shares friendship beyond age disparity, nationality, and language. Memory is highly malleable to connect, rebuild, and recompose depending on the external stimulus. Even in Vienna, the stimulation exists to indulge in reminiscence of Japan. Photo images are especially easy to evoke remembrance, but at the same time, the anticipation of the steadfastness in Tokyo in 2009. However, after ten years, everything has changed; friends, villages, home, and favorite stores. The transition through time serves sorrow and unfamiliarity. This photo series recalls the memory of the diaspora representing the blind letter.
This work is regarding the remembrance of the diaspora during my residency in Japan. After moving from Tokyo to Vienna, everything changed in Japan. Even an elderly friend of mine has passed away, the student residential building was converted into a building for everyone, and my favorite stores have been closed. The photos were taken in 2009 and have become a medium to reminisce about good old memories. Those make the reminiscences alive and make it possible to share them with other people. After the online exhibition #JapanRevisited202x, I plan to revisit Japan and take photos with a new message to my old friend.
Artist Bio
YeLa An (14.03.1987) was born in Seoul and is based in Vienna. She studied photography in Japan and post-conceptual art with Professor Marina Grzinic at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. For many years, she has been making artwork about mass media’s old images of women to reflect the current gender (in)equality. Her interest is an analysis of how today Asian women are represented internally in Asia, fulfilling as well a stereotype that is externally supported by the occidental look. This situation of subjugation by two gazes of oppression that forces Asian young women to emigrate to Europe to find a better life for themselves in Europe. Therefore in 2019, she founded an Asian female art and culture association „MAI LING“ with female artists, curators, and researchers in Vienna. MAI LING aims to visualize Asian women and speak up their voices in Europe.