barbie shamans by yoon jeong won at korea DNA barbie shamans by yoon jeong won at korea DNA
oct 19, 2011

barbie shamans by yoon jeong won at korea DNA

detail view of the piece image © designboom




the ‘korea DNA’ exhibition within prague designblok 2011 featured the works ‘fortune’ and ‘flowers in space’ by korean artist yoon jeong-won. both pieces have a craft-like fantastical, narrative approach in concept as yoon fuses together the ideas of barbie and the west, with the traditional shamanistic sensibility of traditional and contemporary korean culture.

detailed view of the piece image © designboom




‘fortune’ is a ready-made sculpture consisting of 1,000 barbie deities, each individual doll adorned with traditional motifs found in korean dress and rituals.conforming to the favorable interaction between the human and spirit world found in korean shamanic practice, yoon displays the barbies as an incarnation of ‘spiritual materialism’. here, the dolls are representative of the offering made to the spirit world by the human world, addressing the seriousness of spiritual connection in conjunction with worldly consumption.

detailed view of the piece image © designboom




‘I appropriate a variety of social products and ideas into my work, which is an implicit evocation of social reproduction and reuse. using a wide range of mediums such as plastic and lego arts, found objects, barbie doll, vintage fashion and costumes that i have designed, my work may be a representation of a chaotic, kitschy, and fantastic world, and due to the materials used, blurs and lines between conflicting artworks.’ -yoon jeong-won

detailed view of the piece image © designboom

wide-view of the piece ‘fortune’ image © designboom

‘flowers in space’ image © designboom




the marriage of the absurd and the mundane is a concept that yoon works with almost exclusively.  ‘flowers in space’ is an imaginative lantern embellished with dolls, yarn, toys and jewelry.

detailed view of ‘flowers in space’ image © designboom




the objective of the show, curated by elane kim, deputy director of the wold jewellery museum and adjust professor at kyonghee university, college of fine arts, is to open a dialogue on the idea of cultural identity and representation in contemporary korean art. through korea DNA, the designers engage in a visual conversation with citizens of the czech republic about the value system pertaining to korean iconographic expression. yoon jeong-won’s collection was one of 25 works featured in the exhibition exploring the concept of aesthetics within korean visual culture.

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