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Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber Ocula Report Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber 15 Mar 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...

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Diana Campbell Betancourt Ocula Conversation Diana Campbell Betancourt

Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...

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Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art Ocula Report Chinternet Ugly at Manchester’s Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art 7 Mar 2019 : Mike Pinnington for Ocula

China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...

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Kim Yong-Ik

b. 1947, South Korea

Korean artist Kim Yong-Ik (김용익) has led a diverse career, from his 'Plane Object' series from the 1970s, geometric compositions from the 1980s, polka dot paintings from the 1990s, and appropriations of his earlier works in the recent decades. Although Kim has witnessed the emergence of various art movements in Korea firsthand, including Dansaekhwa and the Minjung art movement, also known as 'People's Art', he has remained independent, instead committing his work to a constant self-critique and questioning of existing art institutions.

Kim first garnered attention with his 'Plane Object' series in the mid-1970s, a series of fabric works he conceived while still an undergraduate student at Seoul's prestigious Hongik University. Created by airbrushing large pieces of cloth stretched or hung on the walls, Plane Object transforms the flat surface of painting into a three-dimensional object. Kim also became known as a student to Park Seo-Bo, a leading figure of Dansaekhwa or monochrome painting movement in Korea.

Kim's career in the 1980s coincided with a turbulent chapter in modern Korean history. In 1979, President Park Chung-hee was assassinated and his military dictatorship was replaced by that of Chun Doo-hwan, who brutally oppressed political dissents and regulated the press. Two years later, Kim was invited to participate in the 1st Young Artists Exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, where he made an exception to his generally apolitical stance: instead of showing 'Plane Object' as planned, the artist displayed his work in cardboard shipping crates with labels to inform the viewer of their content. While this untitled work paid an homage to Duchamp, whom Kim admires, it was also interpreted by some critics as a protest against government censorship.

The following two decades witnessed an emergence of various art movements in Korea, notably the Minjung art movement, also known as 'People's Art', of the 1980s. Overtly political and populist, the movement opposed Western modernism and advocated for a return to traditional Korean culture for inspiration. Refusing to conform to either modernism or Minjung art, Kim maintained a critical perspective on both and utilised painting as a tool to interrogate existing decrees of contemporary art. During this period, he focused on formalist concerns, experimenting with sharp-edged geometric compositions.

In the early 1990s, Kim began his iconic polka dot series, which consists of paintings that typically feature an arrangement of circles. Although the overall composition of Kim's polka dot paintings may recall the monochrome paintings of his teacher Park Seo-Bo or Kwon Young-Woo, the mechanical quality of his dots differ from the others' in the visibility of the artist's hand. Kim's dots are also juxtaposed with material imperfections such as dirt, scribbles, drips of paint and doodles: in Apocalypse of Modernism #13 (2016), the otherwise neat grid of dots reminiscent of early modernist paintings is disrupted by paint that the artist has intentionally spread to stain the canvas.

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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A Collision Between What Makes Sense and What Doesn't #17-1 by  contemporary artwork A Collision Between What Makes Sense and What Doesn't #17-1, 2017 Mixed media on canvas
162 x 230 cm
Kukje Gallery
Untitled by  contemporary artwork Untitled, 1990 Mixed media on canvas
181.5 x 227 cm
Tina Kim Gallery
Closer...Come Closer... by  contemporary artwork Closer...Come Closer..., 1990 Mixed media on canvas
130 x 162 cm
Kukje Gallery
Untitled 18-3 by  contemporary artwork Untitled 18-3, 2018 Lithograph on BFK Rives 100% cotton paper
63 x 83 cm
Cahiers d'Art
Untitled 18-6 by  contemporary artwork Untitled 18-6, 2018 Lithograph on BFK Rives 100% cotton paper
63 x 83 cm
Cahiers d'Art
Untitled 18-1 - 18-6 by  contemporary artwork Untitled 18-1 - 18-6, 2018 Portfolio of 6 unique handpainted lithographs
63 x 83 cm
Cahiers d'Art
Utopia by  contemporary artwork Utopia, 2018 Portfolio of 6 unique handpainted lithographs
60 x 80 cm
Cahiers d'Art
Utopia 18-6 by  contemporary artwork Utopia 18-6, 2018 Lithograph on BFK Rives 100% cotton paper
60 x 80 cm
Cahiers d'Art

Recent Exhibitions

View All (4)
Contemporary art exhibition, Kim Yong-Ik, untitled utopias at Cahiers d'Art, Paris
Closed
12 April–1 September 2018 Kim Yong-Ik untitled utopias Cahiers d'Art, Paris
Contemporary art exhibition, Kim Yong-Ik, Endless Drawing at Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Closed
20 March–22 April 2018 Kim Yong-Ik Endless Drawing Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Kim Yong-Ik, Solo Exhibition at Tina Kim Gallery, New York
Closed
27 April–30 June 2017 Kim Yong-Ik Solo Exhibition Tina Kim Gallery, New York

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Kim Yong-Ik Ocula Conversation Kim Yong-Ik Artist

Kim Yong-Ik is the understated rebel of the Korean art world. Over his 40-year career as an artist, writer, and curator, Kim has resisted categorical affiliation with dominant art movements in Korea, from the monochromatic and minimalist paintings associated with Dansaekhwa, to the sociopolitically concerned Minjung or 'people's art' in the 1980s....

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In Related Press

STILL VALID: INTERVIEW WITH KIM YONG-IK Related Press STILL VALID: INTERVIEW WITH KIM YONG-IK ArtAsiaPacific : 10 November 2017

Kim Yong-Ik is known as the artist who sought to define his own trajectory beyond the two movements that dominated South Korean artistic thought throughout the 1980s—Dansaekhwa ('monochrome' painting) and the opposing, populist Minjung misul ('people's art'). Kim was also an activist who protested Park Chung-Hee's dictatorship in the 1960s...

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Gallery Weekend Korea Related Press Gallery Weekend Korea Art Agenda : 23 November 2016

Where the phrase 'gallery weekend' might once have euphemized a romantic indiscretion, or announced a Happening, it now connotes a program of events coordinated to attract a small but influential international audience to a city with aspirations to the status of a cultural hub. Korea’s contribution to this increasingly popular...

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In Related Video

Installation video of Kim Yong-Ik at Kukje Gallery Related Video & Audio Installation video of Kim Yong-Ik at Kukje Gallery Kukje Gallery : 8 December 2016

Kim Yong-Ik's practice perfectly embodies the vital importance of post-Dansaekhwa artists in Korea, and the exhibition will present approximately thirty new works, produced within the last two years, that present a clear reframing of his practices by reappropriating past ideas. While new, the works link directly to Kim's long career and his...

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Exhibition trailer of Kim Yong-Ik at Kukje Gallery Related Video & Audio Exhibition trailer of Kim Yong-Ik at Kukje Gallery Kukje Gallery : 8 November 2016

The majority of the works in the exhibition were produced in 2015 and 2016. Each work shares one of the following five titles that directly frame Kim's transformation: Apocalypse of Modernism, In the Lingering Shadow of Lies, Thinner...and thinner..., After 20 years, and Utopia. Produced by reinterpreting and reediting past projects, the artist has...

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