Exhibition visit: Ha Young Kim’s Modern Soup at 43 Inverness Street

The first exhibition of 2014 at 43 Inverness Street drew to a close last weekend: their second solo show by Ha Young Kim. Gallery director Suzie Lee talks about the work and its reception in the below video:

The opening of the exhibition was a festive affair, with daegeum player Hyelim Kim performing behind Ha Young Kim’s largest work on show: Do Humans Dream of Growing Electric Plants? (2014). The work, at 3m x 2m, was hung diagonally across the room, leaving the musician mysteriously concealed from view in the corner.

Kim Ha-young: Bon Appetit! (2014)
Kim Ha-young: Bon Appetit! (2014). Acrylic on polyester, 50 x 50cm

Ha Young Kim’s work is full of both humour and nightmarish grotesqueries. Much of the subject matter seems to be a critique of gluttony (indeed, a 2012 show at Hoxton Art Gallery was entitled Eat All You Can): bowls are crammed full of colourful things to eat, some of which are edible and others definitely not; and one painting, Boom Shakalaka, could almost be depicting Mr Creosote’s unfortunate end from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life.

Kim Ha-young: My Soul Will Be With You (Self Portrait) (2014)
Kim Ha-young: My Soul Will Be With You (Self Portrait) (2014). Acrylic on polyester, 50 x 50cm

Elsewhere, her range of references seems to range from children’s cartoons (is Self Gradation a reference to Multi Man of Hanna-Barbera’s 1960s animation The Impossibles?) to art history (her My Soul Will Be With You (Self Portrait) recalls Salvador Dali) via church history (her arrow-pierced St Sebastian).

Still from Kim Ha-young's animation Chikichiki Chakachaka Choco Choco Cho (2014)
Still from Kim Ha-young’s animation Chikichiki Chakachaka Choco Choco Cho (2014)

The exhibition has deservedly generated much attention for its striking and colourful imagery. Downstairs there was an interesting new direction for the artist: a black and white animation. Ha Young Kim is working at quite a pace – all the works on display were completed in 2014 – and we look forward to seeing where her practice takes her next.

Ha Young Kim’s solo show was at 43 Inverness Street 21 Feb – 22 Mar 2014. The two photos of Hyelim Kim at the opening event I sourced from Facebook, but I can’t now remember whose page. So drop me a note so that you can be properly credited, or alternatively I’ll take them down if you don’t want them used here.

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