The Earth is little more than tiny speck in a gigantic drawing - Kim Eull
The work of Korean artist, Kim Eull (b. 1954), is centered on drawing transmitted via a variety of mediums including objects, paintings and installations, in an attempt to give form to contours of his deepest thoughts and ideas. For the artist, drawing is not just an art form, but also the accompanying emotions of life that are later transferred to the drawing.
Prior to the beginning of this intensive discussion on drawing, Kim Eull created thousands of self-portraits, which lead to his Blood Map Series, focusing on forging identity and existentialism. Through this creation of portraits, he discovered thousands of bloodlines to his ancestors. However, this issue quickly became too weighty for the artist. The turning point was a fire in which he lost approximately 400 of his portraits. Yet, Kim Eull was not upset about the loss of the paintings, instead he felt it offered him the new start that he so craved, leading him away from the topic of self-portraits and into drawing.
The most important place for the realization of his ideas is his studio, the Twilight Zone, where he creates his own universe, marking an undefined zone between day and night, life and death, the spiritual and the material world, and reality and perfection. This charged relationship and contrast of extremes allows for objectivity. Eull must position himself so that he can consider things objectively, whereby he also feels as if he physically inhabits his own twilight zone. For the occasion of this exhibition, Kim Eull created a reconstruction of his studio in the gallery where he hopes to provide his audience with an authentic understanding of the creative process and his art. In this structure, the artist displays a selection of his drawings and newly arranged objects.
Another theme within the exhibition is The Galaxy. Eull first produced work centered around the subject in 2016 for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, as part of the Korea Artist Prize for which Kim Eull was nominated. The Galaxy was an exhibition featuring 1,450 drawings spread over an entire wall. The drawings symbolise the individual planets, which combine to form the galaxy. The gallery displays a smaller, adapted version of this. In this context, drawing is considered to be a continuation of the processes of forging identity and self-discovery, which, according to the artist, is only half complete. He will continue producing these drawings until his death. The drawings do not deal with a specific topic, instead Kim Eull draws whatever occurs to him spontaneously. The subject matter can be seemingly banal, or elaborate. His recurring themes are life and death, as well as the self, often in the form of symbols showing skulls or tears.
The last of the artist's themes is his Beyond the Painting series. The integrated windows in the paintings are intended to create a 3D effect. Generally, we regard an image as a surface; in this series Kim Eull poses the viewer a philosophical question: What is under the surface? Why do we only wish to see the surface and nothing else? Is there another, unknown world behind this surface? The Controversial Paintings sit within a similar context; where by the idea of a fixed concept of painting is shattered combining an image with objects and furniture. The curtains and drawers are intended to provoke the viewer to question what they wish to find behind them and inside them. Both series play with the traditional concept of painting, encouraging the viewer to form his or her own interpretation.
Kim Eull currently lives and works in Korea. Eull has exhibited extensively throughout Korea producing seven catalogues. This is the first time Eull's work has been exhibited in Germany.
Press release courtesy Choi&Lager Gallery.