Ji Yeo

Ji Yeo is an artist currently pursuing 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. Ji believes beauty is integral to human nature, and people find beauty in the most difficult circumstances, during emotional chaos and disorder, within societal taboos and the breaking of such taboos and even in the face of death. Her current works focus on ideas of “beauty” in contemporary culture, specifically in how women in our culture come to define and enforce an ideal of beauty on themselves. She discuss this cultural phenomena through three photographic, performance, and time-based projects.

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The Beauty

The Beauty series uses the wounded faces and bodies of women who have recently undergone plastic surgery to show the physical cost of adhering to social pressure in Korea. Plastic surgery has become an integral part of Korea’s current culture, often regarded as a integral step in the in self improvement process. Going under the knife, enduring bruises, scars, and being under general anesthetic several times are no longer considered risky or extravagant; showing the physical cost that many Korean women bear by adhering to social pressures of attaining an ideal; specifically, a more Western look. They have all had multiple procedures and have plans for future augmentation. The photos were
taken directly after their operation while they were resting and waiting to be healed.

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The latest raw data compiled from the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery in 2010, confirms that South Korea is indeed the country with the world’s highest per capita rate of cosmetic plastic surgery. It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women by their beauty. The male­dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the ideal woman. As a result of these cultural forces Korea has become a beauty­oriented society where people are judged more for their appearance than their character. Korean women, often fall into the trap of trying to live up to the ideal personified in the media. The combination of these factors has dramatically increased the burgeoning plastic surgery industry while creating another set of standards for women to adhere to. It is about skin and weight, bone structure and proportion, but more than anything, it is about how much women are willing to sacrifice in search of some measure of perfection.

I am interested in the visual residue of that sacrifice, and in exploring the cultural differences and similarities made explicit in the process. In this way, my images are a societal and sociological record of a widespread transformation; an affirmation, an argument, and a challenge.

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For more information please visit her website.