For our second After Nyne @ Venice Biennale piece, our representatives – expert contemporary curators Richard Scarry and Chippy Coates – venture into the mind of Minjung Kim.
Off the beaten track we found something rather special by Korean artist Minjung Kim: The Light, The Shade, The Depth. Kim’s serene and quiet works on paper are the result of a controlled and meditative disciplin. Kim expresses a contentedness of the physical and spiritual universe with her use of monochromatic ink and hand made paper.
Walking into a large room at the top of the palazza we are confronted by lager collage works that comprises of elliptical/ovoid shapes, made of incense scorched paper. Kim’s works create a stunning and calm experience in the midst of the hectic overwhelming beast that is the Biennale, not to be missed.
On the occasion of the 56th International Art Exhibition, the exhibition of the Korean artist’s works made over the last fifteen years curated by the art historian Jean-Christophe Ammann. Minjung Kim’s artworks exhibit a remarkable intricacy.
Rice paper is painted, singed and exquisitely layered to create landscapes that reverberate with the light, depths and mists of perception; or is intricately wound and twisted generating abstract patterns that team with energy. Collaged out of numerous components, her works always subsume their individual elements into the sensibility of the whole.
Using the skills and philosophies developed over decades, Minjung’s works on paper possess a complex materiality all of their own; combining her learning of the traditional oriental arts of watercolour and calligraphy in Korea, with an informed understanding of Western abstract expressionism from her studies in Milan.
The exhibition will identify three distinct groups
within Minjung’s oeuvre: light flooded-mountain landscapes that shimmer through their diaphanous layers of sumi ink-painted and carefully charred paper;works with structures that adhere to the principle of order and disorder to create a myriad of individual constellations; and what Amman characterizes as “the dance of the dervishes”, landscapes in which calm and tranquility are transposed into unrest by the dance of the brush in blue or red — a mark borne by the artist’s
mood and honed by years of calligraphic training.
Constancy and animism are opposite yet complimentary
tensions in Minjung’s art, visualizing, as Ammann explains, “the past made present”. Whilst their subject
matter is returned to again and again, her landscapes are each shaped by the emotionality of the artistic action
and thus different in every work, describing the Eastern understanding of the world as not merely a collection of
physical objects but as an infinite universe of processes.
Energy is channeled through the extreme control of the
artist’s brush, her pyrotechnic treatment of rice paper, her vivid use of colours and the animistic folds that writhe into three-dimensional islands, rosettes and constellations. Time – so evidently painstakingly expended in the
making of these works – is a constant presence; a ritualistic embodiment in material as palpable as the depths
these paper works attest.
Mixed media on mulberry Hanji paper. 140 x 70 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Luxembourg & Dayan