Suyeon Kim

Suyeon Kim(GALLERY2)

Suyeon Kim recreates things that once existed across the two-dimensional and three-dimensional or real and imaginary domains, what exists but is not visible, and thus things that we want to see.

Suyeon Kim (b.1986) works with illustrated bird and plant guidebooks, encyclopedias, and obscene picture books. She collects images and makes prints of them to build three-dimensional objects. Kim’s three-dimensional objects are drawings and objects at the same time. There is no set building method, as she changes the way she works depending on the images. Her recent work is based on the theme of chunhwa (春畵, literally “spring pictures,” but obscene pictures, by definition). She started the work from the question, ‘what would I paint if I were a chunhwa painter?’ By using ornamental flower arrangements and sculptures that remind us of classical beauty, Kim attempts to portray the great fondness between lovers who also seek momentary pleasure. In the final work, there are different perspectives, directions of light, and traces left by original images, which imply that every object in the final image once existed in a different time and space.

Suyeon Kim’s solo exhibition Today’s Weather takes place at P21, from July 8 to August 6, 2022. Weather has long been a subject of interest and exploration for Kim. In Today’s Weather, she presents works that expand her Weather series to the relationship between data and tool-tips, which are the tips of her painting tools that touch the surface of the canvas. In her last exhibition Hold Me (2021, Gallery2), Kim showcased works created by collecting experiences of various weather and climate phenomena, such as rain, wind, rainbow, and sleet in the form of images, and then substituting them with certain objects. Recreating a scene by substituting images with tangible objects, and then transferring it to the canvas is a process and practice that runs through most of Kim’s works. She has been securing a certain amount of distance and time between her works and herself and reflecting her experiences and fleeting images emerging from that in-between space on her canvas.

Meanwhile, interpretation of images and subjectivity of production in Kim’s methodology have always been subjects of doubt. Some distance was secured between the artist and her art subject with the idea that she makes and draws “models” (reconstruction of scenes), but the question of whether her work goes beyond reproduction and explores painting itself always followed. In Today’s Weather, she takes this matter into her hands by resetting the relationship between data and tool. To Kim, “data” was a list of memorable scenes and the order of records, while tools such as paintbrush, pen, and oil stick were means to realize her intentions in painting up until now. However, she takes a different approach in this exhibition, as seen in the new Wind series, by combining data and tool to create a setting that can produce images on its own. This is also an assessment of the necessity of the way images are made in the “model” stage.

Wind is the movement of air caused by differences in atmospheric pressure. Atmospheric pressure is the density of air, which changes depending on the surface temperature or water surface temperature. Kim prepared a special device that records the movement of wind caused by this difference in temperature and collected data. She tied a painting tool, such as a paintbrush or pen, to a string, which swayed like a pendulum and “collected” wind like a pendulum on a seismometer that records vibrations. The traces of the brush or pen tips left on the notebook resemble vector data graphs that show direction and magnitude. Graphs are combinations of data and visual elements such as points and lines; likewise, Kim collected the vector data of “the movement of wind” and visualized “today’s weather” using a tool that matches well with the weather that day. In other words, she changed out the tool-tip every day and gave variations to form.

The models she created for her paintings thus far have now been integrated into accumulated data of time and movement. The X and Y axes’ plane movement and the change in energy that works on the Z-axis left either sharp or thick traces of strokes, and Kim faithfully recreates this, thereby exploring the form of paintings that vary depending on the tool that is used. Here, she understood weather as a phenomenon caused by energy, and connected personal experiences and emotions to the object that channels and embodies that weather. Various images and landscapes presented in Today’s Weather are the traces of energy recorded “today” and the objects of emotions that travel along that path.

Suyeon Kim
2013 M.F.A., Fine art, Kookmin University, Korea
2010 B.F.A., Fine art, Kookmin University, Korea
Solo Exhibitions
2018 SPRING PAINTING, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
AQUARE, KUHO Hannam Flafship Store, Seoul, Korea
2017 ENCYCLOPEDIA, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
2016 ENCYCLOPEDIA_Vol.1 Early efforts of ballooning, Aando fine art, Berlin, Germany
2015 Ghost-Cast, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
2014 Ghost-Cast, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
2013 Shadow Box, Gallery2, Seoul, Korea
Group Exhibitions
2019 CRE8TIVE, OCI Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2018 ONE-PIECE, ONEROOM, Seoul, Korea
Chong KunDang Supremacy of Art, SEJONG Art Center, Seoul, Korea
BOTANICA, Busan Museum of Art, Busan, Korea
Current Exhibition: Speaking Text, spaceXX, Seoul, Korea
The Conversation, Artsidegallery, Seoul, Korea
Botany 101, The Jeju Kim Tschang-Yeul Museum of Art, Jeju-do, Korea
2017 Season 3 Residency Artists Exhibition, Taipei Artist Village, Taipei, Taiwan
TAIWAN ANNUAL, Taipei Expo Park-EXPO Dome, Taipei, Taiwan
To Draw, OPENSPACE BAE, Busan, Korea
soshoroom×suyeon kim×singmulstore, soshoroom, Seoul, Korea
2016 Richard’s Collection of Joseon Art, JEMULPO CLUB, Incheon, Korea
Art in Science Space Stage-Montage of Shadows, DMA Art Center, Daejeon, Korea
2015 The Butterfly Effect, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
Suyeon Kim and Jongwan Jang, HYUNDAIMOTORGROUP, Gyeonggi-do, Korea
Job is art, Painter Suyeon Kim x Plant researcher Zeesooh Han, Gutakso, Seoul, Korea
Un Certain Regard(10th Anniversary of Kumho Art Studio),Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea
2014 TOMORROW 2014, DDP, Seoul, Korea
Today’s Salon, COMMON CENTER, Seoul, Korea
2013 Abudhabi Korea Art Month Exhibition, ArtHub, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2012 99℃Young Artist Exhibition, Seoul Art Space, Seoul, Korea
2010 東邦妖怪, Doosan Art center, Seoul, Korea
Award / Residency
2018 8th Resident Artist, OCI Museum of Art Studio, Inchon, Korea
2017 Taipei Artist Village,Taipei, Taiwan
MMCA Residency, Goyang, Korea
2016 Chongkundang Supremacy of Art, Korea
2015 SFAC artsupport/creation_sight, Korea
2014 BEXCO Young Artist Award, BEXCO, Busan, Korea
2013-2015 9th Resident Artist, Kumho Art Studio, Korea
2013 ArtHub Resident Artist, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2012 99℃Artist, Seoul Art Space_SEOGYO, Seoul, Korea
2010 東邦妖怪, Art in Culture, Korea

Cuartor: Sun A MOON & Artist : Suyeon Kim


Q. You work in a rather unique way. Could you explain your practice in detail?
I collect photos that can help me specifically realize scenes, landscapes, or objects that I want to see, and then devise a plan. Next, I print related images to make three-dimensional objects, and then translate them into paintings. I question the act of directly transferring image into painting without intermediary material.


Q. You have been working by printing images, making them into three-dimensional objects, and then painting them. What is the reason and motivation behind such practice?
Since a young age, I enjoyed making still-life drawings, which involves object arrangements, light and shadow, and artificial lighting. I liked the paradox of collecting real things and drawing imaginary, unrealistic scenes based on them.


Q. My understanding is that you use text or images from illustrated bird and plant guidebooks, encyclopedias, and obscene picture books. What’s the story behind coming to work with these, say, themes?
They are subjective themes selected based on my personal experiences, but generally, I work with things that once existed but no longer do now or what’s not visible but is around us and therefore what we wish to see. Some are longings that have been transferred to another subject, and others are results of imagining the realization of hypotheses or assumptions.


Q. What have you been working on recently?
I have been focused on translating time represented by weather into material. Subjective experiences of various climate phenomena are conveyed through images. For example, I combine wind and elements of drawing to collect data and images, or create representations of the experience of rain through numerical records.


Q. What are your plans going forward?
I am starting to break away from my organized and refined work style and tendencies to explore coincidental, or unintended beauty. I plan to continue with the weather project, and I am also working on a book to publish on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of my career.