with works by Suyeon KIM
Scientists fail most of the time yet artists always fail. Scientists wanted to fly in the sky. They repeated experiments to prove their hypotheses. So, they lost their lives. Artists wanted to show invisible things. They made paintings to visualize an idea (fantasy). So they were mocked by the real thing and ignored by language. Scientists and artists believed in their hypotheses and ideas, attempting to represent them. They waited for the dawn of a world they never saw before.
In 2015, Kim started creating 3D objects and paintings about images of relatively unknown science stories and mysterious events in an encyclopedia. In this solo exhibition, titled Encyclopedia, it focuses on the story of those who attempted to fly in the sky. This exhibition took place first in Germany in 2016. Her painting was sourced from an archive housed in a museum in Germany. Kim Suyeon, amongst many images, selected ones that are still unknown whether they were realized or just remained as an image source.
Previously, Kim would print out an image to make a three dimensional object and then arrange it to be photographed. Her painting was a depiction of the photo. In her new work, however, there was a major change in her way of making. First is the method of making 3D objects. This time, she brought various materials to make 3D objects instead of a printed image. A printed image, regardless of its kind, has the same mass and property. With the new method, each 3D object and part was transplanted into distinctive skins. Second is the method of making paintings. The artist directly observed from 3D objects instead of a photo. From here on, things get complicated. Printed images flatten and equalize everything. Let’s say someone touches his or her face reflected in a mirror. Painting something directly from looking at a real object is like directly touching one’s face rather than the reflection on the mirror. It is about feeling the skin, sensation and curves. An artist’s retina should penetrate deep into a real object, as opposed to staying on the surface of a flat photo. The eye should be able to touch the skin of things like a hand.
In fact, those three dimensional things Kim produced should be called an object rather than a thing. An object connotes a symbolized thing as opposed to a thing or an object in a literal sense.
Although we do not know why a certain thing was made into a particular shape, or why a certain material was used, we are still somehow attracted to it. That is an object. To make an object is to impart an artist’s idea (fantasy) into a material. The shape of Kim Suyeon’s object is not predetermined but improvised like that by chance. She constructs her own world without being constrained by the rules or language of art.
While the making of an object desired an idea and the joy of a hand, painting is very refined work. Making a painting of something in front of the object from direct observation takes every bit of an artist’s concentration and sensation. An artist should have antennae and feel the object.
It is not that there is a clear image that could be made into a picture in an object itself. While the artist was scrutinizing the landscape before her eyes inch by inch, numerous scenes may have emerged in the artist’s mind time after time. Kim Suyeon captured one scene that could stimulate the artist’s cerebrum through optic nerves and then stuffed it. The composition of an object and a favored arrangement. That is a still life. She broke away from the previous method in which the artist photographed that antennae-trembling instant to depict it. That is to say that the artist decamped from the lucidity of a photographic image. It is a painting that weathers the change of the weather and the status of mind day after day. It is sentimental work in all respects.
Kim Suyeon’s painting is a painting that makes holes in the real world and desires the unreal world. Visible things and invisible things, credible things and incredible things, and obvious things and ambiguous things, her painting is placed in a passage between those things. For the artist tries to show something she never saw before, she is a psychic; for she represents an object implying such an idea, she is an observer. Kim said her work is a memento dedicated for those who attempted to fly in the sky but failed. It is a lamenting painting. Perhaps, it is an expression of moaning in attempt to remember the moment of their earnest hope and eternally preserve, making them protagonists of the story. She said their efforts to achieve unrealistic things were similar to herself trying to paint unrealistic things. Scientists fail most of the time yet artists always fail. Since scientists fail most of the time, successful hypotheses and proofs are remembered. For art, however, it always fails, every failure is marvelous and affectionate.