It Will Hurt A Little
Opening Reception: April 30 | 6-8 pm
Exhibition: April 30 – May 22, 2015
BAXTER ST at CCNY is pleased to present a solo exhibition by artist and 2014 Workspace Resident, Ji Yeo. The It Will Hurt A Little project introduces interiors of plastic surgery clinics in Seoul. The lens explores clinics from luxurious receptions to employee-only zones—all while the clinic is empty, with no patients in the building except in recovery rooms. For over a decade, Ji Yeo has witnessed the plastic surgery industry in South Korea grow dramatically. Like many Koreans, her interest in cosmetic surgery began at a young age, with a desire to have procedures done on herself. Since then, cosmetic surgery has come to be treated more as a necessary routine than as a carefully considered option. South Koreans now have more plastic surgery than any other nation in the world, with more than one in five South Korean women having had cosmetic work done. In a global industry of tens of millions of procedures worth tens of billions of dollars per year, South Korea is a global hub. And it’s growing fast: according to the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, the number of people traveling to Korea for medical tourism is approaching 300,000 per year, and is still growing at a staggering yearly rate of 30%.
Embodying this growth, small clinics have become multi-million-dollar complexes. One clinic built its own 21-floor building in the middle of the high-end Gangnam area in Seoul, including different functions for each floor, 300 employees, 30 doctors, 12 operation rooms, 40 postoperative rooms, 70 consulting rooms, a dermatology salon, a spa, dental care, aftercare, a cafe, a library, and a sky lounge—all in one building under one cosmetic surgery clinic. These towering clinic buildings are forming a new skyline in Gangnam. Millions of patients walk in and out. Thousands lie on surgical beds sleeping, waking up with fresh seams on their face and body. Through collecting images covering just a fraction of these clinics, she attempts to measure the scale of the industry and visualize the millions of people who’ve passed through these rooms and halls, evoking her own mixed emotions: an association with this culture, as it is part of her; but also melancholy.
It Will Hurt A Little project introduces interiors of plastic surgery clinics in Seoul. The lens explores clinics from luxurious receptions to employee-only zones-all while the clinic is empty, with no patients in the building except in recovery rooms. For over a decade, Ji Yeo has witnessed the plastic surgery industry in South Korea grow dramatically. Like many Koreans, her interest in cosmetic surgery began at a young age, with a desire to have procedures done on herself. Since then, cosmetic surgery has come to be treated more as a necessary routine than as a carefully considered option. F-Stop Magazine.
Tonight at the Camera Club of New York’s new Baxter Street location, photographer Ji Yeo will unveil a new body of work titled It Will Hurt A Little that goes inside Seoul’s plastic surgery clinics. For the past decade, Yeo has been engaged in an intensive study of South Korea’s booming cosmetic surgery industry. “Like many Koreans, my interest in cosmetic surgery began at a young age, with a desire to have procedures done on myself,” Yeo writes in her artist statement. “Since then, cosmetic surgery has come to be treated more as a necessary routine than as a carefully considered option.” Vice.
Plastic surgery has become the norm for many, especially in South Korea. As mentioned in a recent article in The New Yorker, the country has the highest per capita rate of plastic surgery in the world. Perhaps that explains the attention Brooklyn-based photographer Ji Yeo received for her project documenting women after they had plastic surgery, while they were still bruised and bandaged. In a statement about “Beauty Recovery Room,” Yeo writes: “It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women by their beauty. The male-dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the ideal woman. As a result of these cultural forces Korea has become a beauty-oriented society where people are judged more for their appearance than their character.” PDN Photo of the Day.
“As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be someone else,” New York-based photographer Ji Yeo writes of her complicated relationship with plastic surgery. Yeo is not the only one. The desire is multiplied by the millions in her native Seoul, often called the world’s capital for plastic surgery. In a new exhibition on display in New York, Yeo showcases photographs that document the experience of plastic surgery in South Korea, where 20 percent of women have had some form of cosmetic work, compared to 5 percent of American women, according to widely cited data from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. The Washington Post.
Ji Yeo is a Brooklyn based artist who pursued her master’s degree in photography at Rhode Island School of Design, as a president’s scholarship and Henry Wolf Scholarship awardee. She graduated Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea in Visual Communication Design and achieved certification program at International Center of Photography in New York, US. Her work is held in collections at The Smithsonian and Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Her work has been shown in International Center of Photography in New York, National Portrait Gallery in London, ClampArt in New York, Houston Center for Photography in Houston, Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Glasgow. Her work has been featured worldwide; Guardian UK, BBC Brazil, Huffington Post, National Geographic Proof, LA Times reFramed, Daily Mail UK, , Wired Magazine, Dazed Digital, Marie Claire Brazil, Esquire Russia, Blink magazine, Von magazine International, and many others.
The exhibition is the third in a series of four solo exhibitions by 2014 winners of BAXTER ST at CCNY’s Workspace Residency, supported by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and will continue through May 16th.