Kim Minae is best known for her puzzling structures: painstakingly constructed, they are concrete, purposeful-looking objects. But on second glance the objects clearly have no useful function. Thus, the strange skeletal telescope that was displayed at Futures Futures Future reflected your own eyeball back at you. In her group show at the National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art this year she installed some railings in the middle of the gallery space. They made you want to stand behind them and preach as if from a pulpit.
Similar railings have been installed at HADA Contemporary for the duration of the current solo show – her first in the UK. The title of the show, Thoughts on Habit, indicates that Kim is aiming to rethink the things you are used to and take for granted. You expect railings to have a purpose – to prevent you from falling. They are a health and safety feature. Yet the ones installed in the HADA exhibition space are deliberately designed to disorient and inconvenience you. They are installed at an angle of 14 degrees off the main orientation of the gallery space: an angle determined by placing the railing at a point where it inconveniences you just enough, without blocking your way, as you turn the corner into the second, smaller, space in the gallery.
The floorplan of the exhibition shows what has been done:
In sympathy with the orientation of the temporary railings, the bookshelves in the gallery office have similarly been reoriented by 14 degrees.
Inside the second room a work, Dia Beaon, which is similarly disorienting: a collection of found texts framed in a particularly unusual way: are we meant to read the texts, or to wonder why they have been framed off-centre? In the same room, a series of postcards and photographs of two people in a vast landscape pay tribute to a song (두 사람) by Korean indie musician Swallow (스왈로우). Elsewhere, almost as an afterthought, large exercise balls have been introduced into the installation, softening the harsh lines of the structure with the incongruous spheres.
The official catalogue of the exhibition can be found here: