In Seob Kim's works, details accelerate and turn upside down. Still, Kim develops a drawing stroke that takes time to deploy itself on the paper surface, forming a sensitivity to the subject he is depicting. The issue here is not about the High and Low but how to make complexity cohabit with the sensitive; how to move from the Bigger Picture to the specific; how to widen perception by accumulating the details of a thought process…
In this series of new watercolors by Kim we notice the recurring presence of Bruce Nauman's The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths within a fantasized landscape. Reenacting this particular piece in varied urban environments, Kim takes Nauman's original attempt at a statement and transforms it into a subliminal message; a disruptive element that hacks public space and derives its energy source from telegraph poles. Kim phantasmagorically misplaces a cultural ornament from its dedicated institutional environment to reflect back on its sociological relevance and effect. The spiraling design and satyrical spin of Nauman's piece could itself illustrate how Kim juxtaposes pop imagery and trends, political and social issues, and references to art history to build these unsettling compositions that seem strangely familiar. It’s a strategy both disruptive and attractive at the same time.
In this exhibition we also encounter eight pieces from Kim’s ongoing People series using the stratagem of the "Portrait Chinois" literary game to depict his relatives, friends, or people briefly met. Here the goal is to detect certain aspects of an individual personality by selecting an anecdotal element that correlates to reveal their tastes or preferences by (for example: “If they were an animal, they’d be a…”). Articulated simply by the subject's first name followed by a parenthetical “People,” the titles in this series paradoxically maintain a certain anonymity. The viewer is left to interpret the possibility of a personality and scenario deployed to define it. Placed together, various portraits selected from Kim’s People series configure a mental landscape and a social environment, revealing the sinuous interactions between generations, ethnicities, and social classes that compose it.
Seob Kim is a Swiss and French artist born in 1974 in Seoul, Korea. He has presented solo exhibitions at MAMCO, Geneva; Swiss Institute (Istituto Svizzero), Milan; Truth and Consequences, Geneva; and Karma International, Zurich. He has participated in group exhibitions at Praz Delavallade, Paris; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Kunsthaus Glarus; and the Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen. He studied at Haute Ecole d'art et de design de Genève (HEAD) and has received the Swiss Prix Federal d’Art numerous times. Kim lives and works in Geneva.
Organized by Paul-Aymar Mourgue D'Algue.