3 Sep 2015 — 10 Oct 2015
Suyeon Kim
Ghost - cast

A solo exhibition of Suyeon Kim's Ghost Cast will be held at GALLERY2 2 from September 3rd to October 10th. Suyeon Kim, who taxidermizes the ambiguous boundary between existence and absence into painting, will present newly re-created stories of an encyclopedia, in this exhibition.
An image resists an absence. Human beings have used images to drive away a sense of emptiness and uncertainty, to prove that they ‘existed.' Kim, in her previous work Shadow Box, turned a selected bird from a bird guide into a three dimensional object, then photographed it to restore the image as a painting. The three dimensional object was destroyed and only the painting survived. Do not mourn for the fate of the discarded birds, as they will be revived as an image forever. A time for mourning is enough.
In this exhibition, Suyeon Kim chose an encyclopedia rather than a bird guide. The drawings of a bird guide and the illustrations of an encyclopedia are fundamentally different. The structure of a bird in a bird guide is formulated. It creates a fictional bird by combining the common characteristics and personalities of species. On the other hand, an encyclopedia is a book that summarizes human knowledge by collecting and categorizing it. Here, an illustration gives credibility to a story as evidence. Hence, the illustrations in an encyclopedia are specific and individual. The artist’s previous work used a bird guide to represent an object that did not exist, whereas this exhibition represents a fact rather than fiction, through an encyclopedia.
Suyeon Kim selected the subject of her work from Reader's Digest Book of Facts: Essential and Intriguing Information About This Odd World Around Us. Reader's Digest is an American magazine first published in 1922. This book introduced summaries of interesting stories collected from influential books in the world, ranging from health and life, to culture and history.
Reader's Digest Book of Facts is a collection of little known stories about science and mysterious events among them. The artist said that she selected stories that are unbelievable to her. The stories include the astronomy genius Jonannes Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, the ghost of U-Boat 33, and a bristlecone pine tree from California’s White Mountains, which is thought to be almost 5,000 years old among scientists.
Although the sources of the selected images vary, the artist’s way of creation is the same. She
prints out an image, makes it three dimensional, photographs it, and finally expresses it as a painting. Lastly, she destroys the three dimensional object. In the process, the artist assigned a new task to herself. She created a fictional situation where she was commissioned to make a souvenir of a particular story. People cherish tourism souvenirs. It is not enough to remember travels. They record and commemorate them with souvenirs. People need something that reminds them of memory and verifies it. Those souvenirs that beautifully, romantically package one’s trip are tacky and sloppy, but that is fine. The traveler’s memory and affection fill the gap.
Collecting souvenirs from travels and Suyeon Kim’s painting are both in parallel with one another in the sense that they both verify the existence through an image, despite the memory being invisible to the eye. The situation where the paper three dimensional object is destroyed and only the painting is kept, is not unlike a situation where people are attached to their souvenirs rather than wanting to travel to places again.
Suyeon Kim titled this exhibition Ghost Cast. To her, the stories in an encyclopedia felt like a ‘ghost’ which refers to having ‘only a name but no existence.’ And she added ‘cast’ which means ‘casting a shadow’ and ‘molding.’ In fact, ‘imago’, the origin of the word ‘image’, means a spirit, a ghost. An image is a product of a desire to confine and taxidermize the uncertain existence that might disappear. A bird guide displaying real, existing but formulated fictional birds, an encyclopedia proving stories that unlikely exist, a souvenir recalling and validating the past, and an image of a ghost are on the boundary between ‘an existence and an absence’ or ‘a truth or a fallacy.’ This vague yet strict borderline becomes painting. Suyeon Kim’s painting is on that strict boundary. That sharp sensitivity and tension instigate the value and purpose of painting, expanding its possibilities.
Space model, 100x100cm, oil on canvas, 2015