Cut and Faced

Meticulous Series of Cut out Portraits Featuring Famous Faces

South Korean artist, Yoo Hyun has a novel way of paying homage to her favourite artists. She creates painstakingly cut-up portraits which often feature distinctive zig-zag patterns giving her photorealistic renditions an ethereal, almost ghostly quality. This is particularly effective when the works feature the faces of famous artists who have now passed, such as Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso and Jean Michel Basquiat.

“I usually pick a person who I admire or adore to depict,” explains Yoo. “But, when I choose the images and photos of the person I who want to feature, I consider many things including the lighting and mood of the photograph.”

The way her portraits have a semi-transparent quality evokes the simultaneous feelings of absence and presence, creating something of a paradox in the viewer’s mind and adding to the power of the images. It also calls into question the pervasiveness of celebrity, perhaps alluding to the way iconic faces just become two-dimensional images, with the actual personality behind it remaining a mystery.

Yoo Hyun shared some insights with us.

The Plus: Can you tell us about your artistic journey so far?
Yoo Hyun:
I studied Korean painting in University as a BA degree. I then went on to do an MA in Oil Painting in Japan. My experiences in Japan inspired me to focus on Korean ink and paper (Han-ji). Even though these materials are indigenous to Korean painting, I wanted to find various uses for the two materials, experimenting to find new and creative ways to work.

TP: Which of your images have gone down best?
I dare say the most popular images of my works are Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso and Jean Michel Basquiat. I think because each of these artists created such masterpieces, that fuels the popularity by positive association.

TP: Do you have any new areas you’d like to explore?
So far my works have focussed on famous people. But, I want to tell a new story. I want to listen to new subjects from people across the world using social media. If I can make a new project through that method, it will be a very interesting set of works that utilises the positive features of social media.

TP: What are your long-term ambitions?
I hope I can communicate with as many people as possible through my works. As an artist, the interaction with the public is the greatest honour. I want to present my works all over the world!