Exhibition news: Yeji Kim – Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, at the KCC

by Philip Gowman on 23 February, 2017

in Event Notices, Exhibition news, KCCUK, Kim Yeji

The upcoming exhibition at the KCC is by Yeji Kim, winner of the KCC’s 2017 Open Call:

Yeji Kim: Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things

A series of paintings which explore a sense of the virtual world, inspired by the flatness of images found on social media platforms.
27 February – 18 March 2017
Korean Cultural Centre UK | Grand Buildings | 1-3 Strand | London WC2N 5BW
Main Entrance on Northumberland Avenue
Monday–Friday: 10am–6pm | Saturday: 11am–5pm
Opening Reception: 27.02.2017 6.00 – 8.00 pm
RSVP : info@kccuk.org.uk/ 020 7004 2600

Dead Things gif

The KCCUK’s Open Call programme offers two artists, a winner and a finalist, with the opportunity to exhibit their works at the KCCUK in 2017. As the winner of the Open Call Yeji Kim will present her solo show between February and March 2017. Kim’s winning proposal was selected by three jurors from over 40 applicants – the jurors were: Matt Williams (Curator, Institute of Contemporary Arts), Kirsty Ogg (Director, New Contemporaries) and Aaron Cezar (Director, Delfina Foundation).

With her continued interest in articulating images from social media, in Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things, Yeji Kim presents a series of paintings that explore her understanding of ‘shallowness’ and ‘flatness’– the “dead things” referred to in the exhibition title is taken from a low-budget zombie film of the same name made in 1971. Kim’s method of investigating shallowness is shown in a painting installation format which is also a critical component of her show. Through this sequence of paintings, Kim presents the exhibition space in a light and cheerful way whilst sculpting out a logical viewing order that makes for a flat world.

‘Flatness’ is explored by Kim across five themes, and with the first theme Kim turns her sight to Instagrammers. Kim combines visual debris and fragments collected from online spaces, and create montages that give them a rebirth. By using painted Instagram images in a gallery context, Kim presents pieces that are detached from the narratives that they originally belonged to, and then by recreating them in her montage, Kim breathes new life into these images so that they can be appreciated and contemplated. For instance, Kim looks into the relations between Parisian flaneurs and hipsters. Just like Parisian flaneurs of the Second Empire who were mesmerised by the urban spectacle, today’s Instagrammers and hipsters wander around online spaces, clicking “likes” or following others, and feeling empty or maybe emptier.

To depict such a sense of emptiness and flatness, Kim’s paintings are seemingly bleached showing no mark of time or space. This, in turn, makes the audience question how this experience can reconstruct the way we view our visual reality. Our eyes cannot penetrate the depth of images on glossy flat screens, leaving us to instead perpetually slide down their surface, looking for more.

Yeji Kim (b.1989) currently lives and works in London. She graduated with a B.F.A. from Ewha Womans University and is studying at Goldsmiths University of London, MFA Fine Arts. Her previous exhibitions include Jazzymas Gallery (Korea, 2013) and Santoriny Seoul Gallery (Korea, 2013).

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