Form and Pit by Hanbum Lee, Art Critic
In Abe Kubo's novel The Woman in the Dunes appears a man impelled to shovel endlessly at the bottom of a sand-besieged pit. If he stops, the pit gives way, which leads to the collapse of the entire village. The novel contains the following sentence: 'From the sand's side, all with form are in vain. The only certainty is the fluidity of the sand negating all forms.' Sand moves and incessantly demands resistance along with the reaction and action of power. What may be this power, intervening in this fluidity?
It might be natural that a pit was set as this novel's narrative backdrop for the wholly fluid sand. This is because a pit condenses and visualizes fluidity while prompting it at the same time. In general, pits are prone to be portrayed as thick darkness, in turn, serving to be the metaphor of epistemological impossibility that invokes numerous stories; like that of Alice who starts her adventure as she falls in a rabbit hole. The inside or beyond of a pit is a world unchartered and indefinite. If this is a kind of the Imaginary, the pit is also clearly an intense apparatus that produces the concept of the Real. If the window is an apparatus that splits the in and out through gazing and the door an apparatus that divides the in and out through entering and exiting, how does the pit operate as an apparatus? Things are sucked or sunk into a pit. That way, a pit produces this world and the world-beyond as it accompanies the transformation of a form and relocation of things.
What Seeun Kim's paintings imply is quite straightforward. They are the landscapes the artist witnessed and experienced in person, more specifically the 'scenes' one discover when they step further into the landscape. This so-called 'scene' signifies a certain image captured and blown-up through framing. Here, the artist captures the power that induces the form to a perpetually fluid matter. So to speak, the discreet and repetitive gaze and observation of the artist seize the specific duration that displays the demonstration of the power that constructs the form in the established, visible landscape. And generally, the apparatus of the pit is involved in this process. This is also something as specific as a puddle dug up in the road, a tunnel, or a split crack, but the eyes prying for the pit gaze into the invisible rule, rendering a certain scene as structural. For this reason, it is secondary to ask where the scene is located, what happened there, and what meaning it connotes to understand the artist's works. If questions of these sorts presuppose the concept of place, it is because Kim's scenes necessitate a discourse of space. The latter delays and renews meaning if the former is coded and reverted to meaning. The pit is a parameter that deals with the relations of form, rearranges the position of objects, and adjusts the fluidity of a landscape; it cannot be reduced to semantics.
The pit is the primary power and proof intervening in the change of form, and Kim rebuilds the original order of that field through the means of painting. Kim's paintings visualize the forms that have flowed for a certain duration, are flowing, and will flow. Numerous tenses complete the single square through the superposition of thin, low-res layers as they appear simultaneously and immediately. In other words, contemporaneity negates a fixed form and reproduces reality. What Kim executes through her painting is this process of construction, realized through the artist's body facing the canvas, in operation as she is self-conscious of the condition.
Press release courtesy One And J. Gallery.