The Rose of Sharon, Bloomed
무궁화 꽃이 피었습니다.
Hold Still for the Transitory Yet Unforgettable Joy
by Rachel Lee
The seemingly spontaneous and simple gestures of playful experiments in a children’s game “Red Light, Green Light” mask Kim’s rigorously and carefully thought-out calibrations and calculations in his new series The Rose of Sharon, Bloomed.
In the colorful blooming of body movements captured by both Kim’s long exposure shots and CCTV cameras installed at the gallery, Kim continues to employ the same methodology of his previous works such as Foresta series: the artist seeks to study and capture a correspondence between what is clear and definite versus vague and foggy as he creates variations within a unique formula he set. The white areas in his photographs are equivalent to the fragments of time and space when all dancers meet each other.
These moments of encounter are not coincidental, however. The order of time is always carefully calculated far in advance and plays a pivotal role in all of his series. The artist states that what he does is ultimately the result of what he has been wondering. The yielding results are, for the most part, what Kim has had in his mind for as long as a couple of years. Likewise, The Rose of Sharon, Bloomed was planned in the fall of 2017, about two years ago.
What sets the new series from the previous ones, however, is that a) performers as well as the viewers are visually handicapped through headlamps (the lamps are covered with color filters, the colors of which match the five colors represented in the works) and b) their perceptions are mediated by the CCTV cameras.
It is worth noticing that both the original performers and guest players of the game “Red Light, Green Light” were not discriminated against their body shape, gender, ethnicity, or financial status. Yet, even without those markers we easily and shamefully place on others, the fact that the participants’ sensory experiences have to face filters and handicaps tells us that no one is completely free from bias and prejudices. Does this make us hopeless? Perhaps, but Kim’s works lean more towards open-hearted embrace of not only our own weaknesses but also the exhilarating joy of encountering new experiences and their long-lasting traces.