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The Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust Prizewinner: Seeun Kim

Round about this time last year Seung Ae Lee was holding an exhibition at Marlborough Fine Art to display her work as the Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust Prizewinner. This year, another Korean artist has that honour:

Seeun Kim: Potholing

The Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust Prizewinner 2017
Exhibition Dates: 15-22 August 2018 (Monday – Friday: 10am – 5.30pm)
PV: Wednesday 15 August, 6-8 pm
Marlborough Fine Art | 6 Albemarle Street | London W1S 4BY |

Seeun Kim: Eye (2018)
Seeun Kim: Eye (2018). Water mixable oil on canvas, 120 x 80 cm

Marlborough is pleased to present the work of Seeun Kim, winner of The Valerie Beston
Artists’ Trust Prize 2017.

The Valerie Beston Artists’ Trust was established in 2006 on the death of Valerie Beston, a
former director of the gallery, to support artists at the beginning of their careers. The
charity collaborates with the Royal College of Art to award an annual prize to a
postgraduate student selected from the degree show. The prize comprises a studio at
SPACE for a year, a financial contribution towards materials, tutorial support, generously
provided by the RCA, and an exhibition at the end of the year. Catherine Lampert and
Pilar Ordovas have kindly selected the winner of the prize.

Seeun Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in Bundang, close to the capital
and one of the first artificial cities in Korea, built in the 1990s on what was previously
farmland. The landscape is highly manicured, with neatly trimmed bushes and trees,
small playgrounds and parks, and restricted within the urban environment.

Seeun observed that the shapes of the green elements looked odd and were
consistently at the side of the road, on the boundary, in leftover or in-between spaces
in her home city, where she assumed a bird’s eye view from a fixed point. All the works
begin in her imagination with an abstract shape, which she develops in drawings and
photographs on walks around the city.

Some twenty large and small paintings in the exhibition reflect her experience of
London. The city’s layers interest her, with the construction of new buildings, its bridges
and underground lines, as well as the excavated surrounding area. Her way of seeing
changed and became more deeply focused on the unearthed object. The changing
perspective became more important as well as the empty spaces. She was also struck
by the parks and the new urban wildlife including squirrels and foxes. She imagines
herself like a small creature or worm, digging down or tunnelling and wriggling through
the landscape

Her vision is modulated by zooming in and out of what is in front of her so objects may
change scale. What looks like abstraction is based on the landscape, but is an enlarged
or reduced and simplified version of place. The paintings appear abstract as a result of
erasing, integrating and distorting details. She is like a tightrope walker establishing a
balance between herself and the object, which may be elusive.

The artist is like a potholer stuck in a tiny space for a long time then suddenly seeing a
totally different world. The paintings convey a feeling of standing on the edge, of
overlooking or watching the landscape and of contrast between animate and
inanimate things. They have a fluid structure, some resemble a cave or spiral and some
whirlpools and holes with eyes. Water mixable oil facilitates flowing, liquid structure,
with washes of strong, unusual colour combinations.

Seeun Kim born Seoul, South Korea, 1989, lives and works in London. She graduated
from Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, with a BA in Painting in 2013 and attained an MA
in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2017. She was selected for the Travers Smith
Art Programme 2017-18. Solo exhibitions include Sidewalk Forest, Sophie’s Tree, New
York, 2015; Feet of Integrity, Even the Neck, Seoul, 2012 and numerous group
exhibitions including Lounge Project: Revolving Sights, Artsonje Center, Seoul, 2014;
Revealed Forest, Gallery 175, Seoul, 2015; Today’s Salon, Common Center, Seoul, 2015; I
Love You, I Love you Not, Hite Collection, Seoul, 2017; Travers Smith, London, 2017;
Lobby Muddy Carpet, 2W, Seoul, 2018


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