Fugues – 2014 (QC)

Quêtes identitaires  (Fugues Magazine, Montreal, Nov. 2014)

By Julie Vaillancourt



To meet oneself, to create, it’s a characteristic of many artists. So few succeed, BYOL kimura a.k.a. mihee-nathalie lemoine transposes by its fascinating art for identity. Meeting with a queer artist, zer art and identities.

Born. South Korea, BYOL kimura saw 1 year and 9 months, before leaving for Belgium with zer adoptive family. If ze grew up in Belgium and creates later the first association of adopted Koreans (1991), ze lived 13 years in Korea, will participate in the first Gay Pride and in 2002 at the Rainbow show, before immigrating to Montreal. It endorsed these multiple identities and to combine art as a means of expression, outlet and vehicle messages.

The name, age and adoption

From the outset,  kimura byol alias mihee-nathalie lemoine, explains zer journey to better understand the origin of zer name and zer origins, zer identity inextricably woven route: “Many people call me Kimura, but that’s my (family) name. My close friends call me ‘byol’, which means ‘star’ in Korean, because in Asia we put the family name first and given name after. I wanted to keep it, it’s a statement.”

Moreover, speaking of “statement”, the 6261 engraved tattoo byol its adoption number is worn on the wrist. Ze has this tattoo in the short film ‘What does it mean?’ issue inherent to said tattoo, with its different identity questions. Moreover, when asked to BYOL age, the answer is complex: “Actually I’m 46, but officially aged 49. I was 3 years old at the time of adoption. In general, younger, but this was a mistake … When I found my biological mother, she confirmed that I was younger. ”

In the film disadoption, BYOL tells about a song that has rocked many childhoods, how his father once asked the “désadopter” “I like to integrate a popular reference – often songs because it is a cultural base that people will understand – and combine them with my personal experiences. “For those who want to adopt, BYOL stresses the importance of not minimize the effect of ethnicity, as adoptive parents, by their culture, do not always have all the tools.

Queer identity and transpossibilities

To the question “do you consider yourself Korean, Belgian or Canadian?” BYOL answered by all: “For me, it is everything and it’s part of me. It’s like saying, “Is that your identity is feminist or gay?” Both! For me, there is no choice to make, I am Feminist, queer, intersex, who chose to be a girl, because it’s easier … biologically speaking, “says one who loves women “But not all women, those who are more masculine,” says BYOL. She prefers the term queer because it does not evoke the idea of ‘hetero-centrism’ is a lesbian who tries to reproduce a diagram hetero-centred (house, kids, dog, etc.) I do not define myself that way “.

Moreover, speaking of definition BYOL continues on the idea of trans: “For me before, trans meant trans-adoptee but trans-sexuals / trans-genders have reclaimed the word, while the word “trans,” talks transition it is a trans-possibility. And there are plenty of trans-possibilities… Besides, if we refer to transgender, once the transition is complete, there are no longer trans, since this transition is complete. ”

Thus, by appropriating zer various identities, Byol consistently makes these transitions to be recaptured through art: “Adoption (trans-identity) and the idea of wanting to fit in a new body (transgender), but also to the new culture (education by Western people who are visible duality with our Oriental body) have correlations” based BYOL.

Artistic identity activist

BYOL learns early painting, while her grandmother gives her brushes. She will continue her passion in an art school, where she finds among others, surrealism and non-figurative “At first, I was very steeped in the Belgian environment in which I was, it was not all Korean stuff.” Of course, at the base, art is an outlet for BYOL, therapy, but “the more I know, the more I try to convey a message, to develop my style,” says one who admits became interested in Pop Art. Moreover, zer work on Ramyeon (Korean noodles) involves not only the idea that “the identity of a person necessarily involves food,” but also involves questioning consumption and aesthetics (Campbell / Andy Warhol soup), specific to Pop art.

“Basically, my work is conceptual,” says one who was throughout zer artistic career influenced by artists of diverse backgrounds, including Félicien Rops, Lee Ufan, Egon Schiele, Adrian Piper, Kim Ki Chang, Lee Bul, Tracey Moffatt, Sophie Calle and Nam June Paik, at the conceptual video “Before, my art was more impulsive and now, with age, it is more thoughtful. I like to incorporate a mix of three cultures that are in me. ”

In 1988, BYOL is interested in the medium of video with zer first short film adoption, it makes for a competition on the theme of being young in 1988 (the same time as the Olympic Games in Seoul); she explores her identity journey with an open letter to zer biological mother ze did not know. Moreover, this short film will be the beginning of the audiovisual course BYOL and many of zer videos are conceptual with the idea of ​​the number 100 (duration 100 seconds, but also on whiteness, because 100 in Korean also means white). It expresses particular concern in these identity Yellow Laughing, Au Canada, or Hairy (100 grams of hair in 100 seconds).

Moreover, the last work of the videographer was presented to la Maison de la culture Montreal on October 15 and was on the 100th anniversary of his grandmother, filmed in 100 seconds, but a total length is 14 minutes. Both conceptual work is BYOL militant and offers a message, hence the fact that one of his works (100 pictures of white Korean) can be found at the Museum of citizenship in Incheon, South Korea. If you have the chance to view the beautiful movie, ‘Couleur de peau : Miel’ co-directed by Jung and Laurent Boileau, BYOL is in the film because Jung was his classmate, Belgium.

To learn more about the artist and see his work, visit zero website: starkimproject.com and on page www.qouleur.ca group to which it belongs.

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