We found her browsing on Facebook –like spies looking for new aesthetic referents– and we’ve remained fascinated with her way of looking at the body, so in communion with what many of us live for and seek aesthetically, ever since. A body exposed on a screen. Now, a few weeks after the opening of exhibitions in New York and Paris, we talk to John Yuyi. A girl looking for a direction, in the process of defining who she is and what she does; a creative profile that step by step is unveiled through her own actions.
I open your Instagram and I find this title in your bio: “小江 JOHN JOHN Angie Mimi Meow yuyi John Anais." Tell me, who is John Yuyi?
I am 24 years old and I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. And I had a lot of different jobs before focusing on creativity. I did figure modelling, worked in a fashion brand studio and as an editor’s assistant in a fashion magazine. I’m still figuring out what I’m going to do in the future.
I am very insecure about it.
How would you define your profession? Are you a designer?
(Laughs) This question is very difficult. I graduated from Fashion Design. I think my profession is fashion design and graphic photography image. I can’t define myself as a designer though, ‘cause I don’t have the skills to make a collection of ready-to-wear. My collection of swimwear was combined with my photographic work, so I wouldn’t say it was a purely fashion design project.
I am open-minded regarding any sort of jobs. I don’t want to do just one thing. It is good that I can do anything I want – but it is also a weakness that maybe I can’t do anything to the best.
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When, how and why did you start your creative activity?
I graduated two years ago. I really didn’t want to have a daily job, and I was struggling with my future and my emotional problems. I can’t feel peaceful and comfortable all the time, even now. The reason I started my own projects was simply that I wanted to ease my anxiety.
Sometimes I feel down and up. When I am up, I have a lot of ideas in my mind and I just want to make them real right away. I think I’m still trying to find a way out through the creative activity. It also makes me feel I am doing something, instead of just wandering around and doing nothing in my life.
There is a strong presence of the performative action in your projects. Which would be the background in what you do?
I really don’t know about that (laughs). Actually, I have to think how to explain better what is in my mind. I have difficulties in translating the things in my brain to words. I think I like the connection between my body and face and images, and presenting that to people. It is like in the Titties T-shirt project, that was simply a fun thing. I did it with my friend when we all were in a bad time in our lives. We just wanted to do some fun crazy things without big meanings. I think none of the things I’ve done have any big meanings. I just did them because at some moment I thought, “let’s do it!”
“The reason I started my own projects was simply that I wanted to ease my anxiety.”
Looking at the creative plasticity with which you play with the bodies, could you define what the body means to you?
The body is unique and beautiful. I always try to remember the face of people that have been close to me, the details of their skin, their pores, their hair, their acne scar.
Your actions and creative resources remind me of the teen-feminist movement that emerged some years ago with names like Petra Collins and Arvida Byström. Do you consider yourself as part of this movement?
They are awesome, but I don’t consider myself as part of any movement (laughs). It is very difficult to discuss movements, especially because I like to turn over thinking and debate with myself. I don’t easily talk about this kind of things.
What are your referents?
Everything I’ve seen before.
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I remember I discovered you in Facebook and ever since I have seen that you have a wide presence online. What do social networks represent for your everyday life and for your creative activity?
It’s just a platform to let people see what I am doing. I am quite addicted to social networks, but lately I’ve been wanting to disappear from them. I wanna hide in my own comfort zone – but at the same time I believe that I can’t stay away from social networks for a long time (laughs).
The products that you sell go beyond the product itself. Is correct to interpret them as symbols/documents of your artistic actions?
We would like to know your plans; in what are you working right now?
Now I am working on a small photography project. I will release it soon. And I am going back to New York next week. But actually I don’t want to! It’s too lonely there!
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