Lives and Works: Seoul
Kim Joon sees tattooing as a manifestation of the conflicting forces of all identity formation, which is a process of both determination and agency, the effect of internal and external forces that often signify on the skin, as race, gender, normality or dissent. Kim’s interpretation of tattoo is a case study in whatever enters social discourse through prohibition will in fact proliferate and expand, colonizing our consciousness and spreading across our vision of the world. This dualism of proscription and obsession is clear in Kim’s account of tattoo as, on the one hand, expression, desire and self-creation and, on the other, “compulsion, coercion, duress, and constraint” ―what Foucault describes as a “game of powers and pleasure.”
Kim describes his creative development as shaped by the fantasy and artifice of imported American commercial culture, from rock music to Hollywood. The significance of this foreign media presence following on a wartime presence is not lost on the artist. He recalls the impact of listening to American military radio as a youth in Seoul and internalizing the new global identity of “Pop” capitalism as ally, consumerism as shared identity.
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