Yunsoo Kim


Yunsoo Kim

Yunsoo Kim’s art is about flow; the flow of air, wind, or water. Sometimes this flow can be felt by staring into one work, while other times it carries across several pictorial planes arranged in space. Each work features a minimal description rendered in a single color, perhaps blue, or yellow, or a very light gray. Hence, the exhibition space is filled with one flow, one breath, and one emotion. But given that the space is so sparse and thin, it seems inaccurate to say that it is “filled with” anything. Dealing with movements that are just beyond our grasp, Kim’s works convey the most minimal swaying of matter that is almost immaterial.

“Ultramarine” means “beyond the sea.”

Thus, this mystical blue is not only a color, but also to a vague, faraway place that we cannot reach.
For me, collecting paints, pigments, and pastels of “ultramarine,” or colors of the sky, the sea, mountains, or between the clouds, is a way to contain their space of longing.
“Ultramarine”… It is the world of the faraway that I wish to reach, beyond the rules of physical time and space.

While it might be merely an abstract notion, the pure mind, which gravitates toward mysticism, opens a path to another dimension, like magic. I sometimes transform from her sea into his sky, and I sometimes drift for ages on her mountain and in between his clouds.

Like falling in love, “ultramarine” sucks me in like a black hole, before dispersing me as minute particles in an infinite space. “Ultramarine” mesmerizes me. The space deepens obscurely and widens endlessly.

In her 2007 work (Drift) – From Her Sea to His Sky, Between Her Mountain and His Cloud, Kim covered the canvas with thick applications of ultramarine pastels, and gave specific instructions to hang the work as high as possible in the gallery, almost reaching the ceiling. From a distance, the work resembled a night sky or a deep sea (i.e., “ultramarine”), but to get a better look, visitors had to either step back or climb a ladder, as depicted in her 2010 drawing (View) – From Her Sea to His Sky, Between Her Mountain and His Cloud. This unique arrangement was intended to create a feeling of immersion for the viewers.
I stand at the endless horizon, observing the waves of the space. I am here, I am there. In time, holes permeate the space, waves sway, thoughts slip.
In her three-dimensional works, such as Surface of Wind, The Song from Beyond (for Wayne), Wave, and Air, Kim stacks thin pieces of transparent PVC cut into the shapes of people’s feet. Collectively piled, the pieces take on a translucent blue color, while assuming the shape of waves or whirlwinds. Thus, the soles of people’s feet, representing movement and migration, are reduced to natural elements. Moreover, these works are easily dismantled and reassembled for each successive exhibition, an ephemeral status that perfectly suits the spirit of Yunsoo Kim’s art.

Each and every moment which,
Even before my knowing,
Comes and goes without fail.
The innocence that has no pause or hesitation,
Every time, with new and surprising wonder,
Seizes me.

One of the works I have been doing from years ago is to collect the footprints of people, cut transparent vinyl that is 0.8mm thick along the area of the sole and pile them up. Through repetition, the clear shape in the beginning becomes increasingly vague and at last disappears. Amidst prolonged labor, the perspective erases differentiation and becomes the scenery of the depth. As the vinyl layers overlap dozens to hundreds of times, the far-away blue abyss is revealed; according to the fine differences in the ways the vinyl layers pile up, the abyss sometimes becomes the wind, sometimes the river, sometimes the mountains, and at times, draws landscapes that look like clouds.
With Voice of Moon (4/3600 Hour) and Wind Restlessly Caresses All the Boundaries of the World, visitors find themselves surrounded by a series of several small works, like waves or air. While these scenes look almost the same, subtle differences are continuously revealed, like the steady pulse of ocean waves or clouds rolling across the sky. Circulating around the audience, the works become the infinite repetition, the endless stream of flow. Like the incessant ebb and flow of the tides, gently pulled by the moon to caress the world’s shores with light, or the glide of clouds and wind quietly crossing all borders and restrictions, Yunsoo Kim’s works evince the softness that ultimately dominates the universe through minute, almost invisible effects.

Artistic Director Jinsang Yoo
Yunsoo Kim delicately depicts natural phenomenon that coexist with people as if refining thoughts for a poem. Voice of Moon(4/3600 hour) visualizes the heaving and growing sound of the waves as the moon gets full. Moonlight reflecting on the sea and the heave of the waves are drawn subsequently for 4 seconds. 30 drawings compose one work as the average moon’s cycle. These are installed to create the forms of becoming a full moon and nature’s song.’

Extracted from exhibition‘Tastes of Weather’

‘The graphite strokes, as if wind blows, arouses synesthesia of wind caressing cheeks and body.’

Extracted from exhibition‘Tastes of Weather’

Wind restlessly caresses all the boundaries of the world.
It draws deserts, draws clouds, envelopes the hills, circles around the riverbanks, sways the forests, caresses the cliffs, hovers over the waves, passes by the endlessly embroidered flower garden, before reaching you.

Since she often travels across borders, drawn by the world’s logic, Yunsoo Kim’s life and work are easy to take down and set up at a moment’s notice, like the homes of nomads. When she converges with life, object connects with spirit. Moving from one place to another, Kim brings ordinary materials into her inner world and creates mental byproducts. Embracing labor-intensive processes, her hands create things, draw pictures, write poems, and ultimately encounter the world of infinity. Situated between absent or scattered beings, the state of infinity infiltrates her reason before entering life as a physical imagination. For Kim, art is the way of documenting her walk through life; it is the scenery her life writes in her soul.

from the review by Kwanhoon Lee (Curator, Project Space SARUBIA)

Yunsoo Kim
Solo Exhibitions 
2017 A Walk in Whiteness, Gallery SoSo, Paju
2015 Turn on the Night, Alter Ego / Sutome, Seoul
2011 The Bluest Scene, Gallery SoSo, Paju
2008 Ultramarine-Beyond the Sea, Project Space Sarubia, Seoul
2005 Desert of Winds, Gallery DOS, Seoul
2004 Longing for Innocence, Gallery Hyundai Window, Seoul
2003 Longing for Innocence, Space MOM Museum of Art, Cheongju
2001 Yunsoo Kim’s Solo Exhibition, Gallery Sagan, Seoul
Selected Group Exhibitions
2020 2020 Collection: Confronting Today’s Questions, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, Busan
2019 The Accumulated Ghosts, Cheongju Museum of Art, Cheongju
2018 How Artists Meditate, Savina Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul
Tastes of Weather, Nam-Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
2017 Your Time, My Time, Our Time, Gyeonggi Cultural Foundation Lobby Gallery, Suwon
2016 Artist Book Space, Datz Museum of Art, Gwangju
The Edge of Night, OCI Museum of Art, Seoul
Being in Nature, Museum SAN, Wonju
2015 SOMA Drawing: Mindful Mindless, Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, Seoul
Black Hole Sun, Art Center White Block, Paju
Salon de SeMA: SeMA’s New Acquisitions 2014, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
2014 Flow, Datz Museum of Art, Gwangju
Now and Beyond, Gallery Nook, Seoul
2010 The Re-composition of Landscape, Jeju Museum of Art, Jeju
Alive Gently, POSCO Art Museum, Seoul
Heteromorphism, Space Gongmyung, Seoul
2009 Beginning of New Era, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, Seoul
Propose 7-Vol. 4, Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul
Fleeting, Museum of Art Seoul National University, Seoul
2008 Creation Anatomy, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan
2007 Minimum Traces, Space MOM Museum of Art, Cheongju
Art Forecast, Nam-Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
2006 Softness, Seoul Olympic Museum of Art, Seoul
Meditative Forest, Nam-Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
2005 Seoul Youth Art Festival: Portfolio, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul
2014–15 Studio Art Center White Block, Paju
2008–09 MMCA Residency Goyang, Goyang
2006–07 SeMA Nanji Residency, Seoul

Seoul Museum of Art

Museum of Contemporary Art Busan

MMCA Art Bank / Government Art Bank

OCI Museum of Art

Datz Museum of Art

Art Center White Block