Jinny Yu

  • Jinny Yu, Why does its lock fit my key?, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Art Mur.
  • Jinny Yu, Why does its lock fit my key?, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Art Mur.
  • Jinny Yu, Why does its lock fit my key?, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Art Mur.
  • Jinny Yu, Perpetual Guest, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Cheryl Sim on the work of Jinny Yu



Jinny Yu describes her works as self-portraits in the wide sense. Through painting, sculpture, and installation she works between abstract painting and an exploration of the object to push the limits of both. Some of the themes and concepts she investigates are liminality, impermanence, transcience, architecture, urban environment, mass communication, and globalization. Her work is philosophical in essence, as it questions the self within the world and its relation to the Other. Presented here are two series of works brought together into one installation. The works on the walls are from the series Why Does its lock fit my key? The title is a reference from the novel Home by Toni Morrison. These works of painted aluminum offer up angles, perspectives, and perceptions that are never quite settled and constantly shifting. The installation on the floor is called Perpetual Guest and features text and painted sheets of untempered glass, resting on aluminum feet that are not fixed in any way. This work channels her reflection on her place in Canada as an immigrant of Korean heritage living on unceded Indigenous land. This work brings the experience of diaspora into a dialogic relationship with Indigineity.

About Jinny Yu

Jinny Yu’s work grows out of an inquiry into the medium of painting, as a means of trying to understand the world around us. Denaturalizing the medium and questioning its authority, her project Don’t They Ever Stop Migrating? was exhibited at the 56th Venice Biennale. It subsequently toured at The Rooms, St. John’s, and was acquired by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston. Her work has been shown widely in Canada, Germany, Japan, Italy, Portugal, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States in various venues, including: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (2019); Canada House, London (2017); Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin (2016); Richmond Art Gallery (2015); Produzentengalerie plan.d., Düsseldorf (2014); Ottawa Art Gallery (2014); Pulse New York and Miami Beach (2011, 2014); St. Mary’s University Art Gallery, Halifax (2013); Kunst Doc Art Gallery, Seoul (2012); ISCP Gallery, New York (2011); McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton (2011); Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown (2011); Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2009); Sotheby’s Conduit Street Gallery, London (2007); Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice (2006); and Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art (2004). She was an artist in residence at the KIAC in Dawson City, ISCP in New York, Seoul Museum of Art Nanji Studios, and at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Yu, a Professor of Painting at the University of Ottawa, was awarded the Mid-Career Artist Award by Ottawa Arts Council in 2013; Laura Ciruls Painting Award from Ontario Arts Foundation in 2012; and was a finalist for the Pulse Prize New York Prize 2011 and 2014.

Interview with Jinny Yu - PHI Foundation


Artist Website:


Video Resources:

Panel Discussion with RELATIONS Artists 3/4 – PHI Foundation