Anna Youngyeun

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ABSTRACT: Invitation is an interactive performance piece in which the artist stands naked inside of a biomorphic, Lycra sac. The form is attached to the ceiling, limiting the artist’s mobility within the space. Viewers are invited to insert themselves into the work through various orifices, consequently touching the artist, as well as other participants.

Invitation 01 FullPiece1


















Invitation 09 Beatriz









Invitation 07 Chloe















Invitation 17 David










Invitation 03 Details2


Artist Statement

In my personal experiences with BDSM play, wearables and restraints function to heighten and inhibit sensory capacity and, subsequently, to incite reflection upon human bodies and affects. The results are confusing and exhilarating. With this performance, I interact with viewers from inside a biomorphic, constrictive suit to encourage them to play with and question our bodies. By extension, this calls attention to affective issues of comfort, belonging, discomfort, and alienation.

The title, Invitation, is playful in its associations with communal celebrations, yet suggestive in alluding to something enticing and seductive. The sculpture is covered with hand-stitched orifices in which viewers may insert their fingers, hands, and arms. The use of stretchy Lycra knit mirrors the fabric of comfort objects like plush dolls or cushions, making the alien form a repulsive yet loveable entity. Invitation implies that touching is welcome, and although viewers are never specifically instructed to touch the work, most feel compelled to prod, fist, hug, and otherwise engage with the form and materials. In inserting their own bodies into the sculpture, viewers touch not only the plush fabric, but also my own hair and skin, and often each others’ bodies.

I stood naked and silent for two hours, with limited visibility inside the sculpture while viewers participated. The piece weighs approximately fifty pounds, and inside of it, I am compressed, unable to move, and exposed to their whims. Encased in the lumpy mass with only my legs bared, my own body is, in some ways, dehumanized and transformed into a medium that encourages intimately awkward interactions. As participants in a public performance, those involved are rendered simultaneously vulnerable and powerful. Their reactions ranged from tentative to enthusiastic, and from repulsed to aroused. Much like other sites of perverse desire, the room became an intimate yet lighthearted space filled with giggling, uncomfortable silences, blushing, and playful experimentation.


Anna Youngyeun is an artist and MFA candidate in Visual Arts at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS. As a Thai-Chinese Asian American raised in the American Midwest, her work explores personal and universal themes of living an amalgamated existence at the intersection of converging identities. Her research interests include cultural identity, queer studies, sexuality, fat studies, and sensory experiences.


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