Korean artist MyeongBeom Kim looks at a succession of mental connections and distorted memories related to his experience of the surrounding environment to produce his latest series of works. His second solo exhibition ‘Amphibology’ at Galerie Paris-Beijing, Kim brings a psychological perspective to the perception of the most mundane objects; “I always examine how my surrounding is perceived and remembered. These daily life experiences inspire my works.”
The term ‘amphibology’ refers to wordplay in which uncertain grammatical construction results in double or doubtful meaning, and a figure of speech produces an equivocal meaning and linguistic doubleness. In this exhibition Kim uses the unexpected juxtaposition of visual elements to explore the various ways in which the viewer can reconcile the dichotomous relationships between the forms in the work. This is evident in his work “Wish Boat”, where a pile of stones in a beached boat render it unable to retain its ability to float, but simultaneously its placement by the sea references its original characteristic. Kim tries to insinuate the possibility of doubt to force us to look at an alternative point of view, this arises from his interests, stating that “[t]hese days, I try to find the source of my works in Epistemology, the philosophical theories of Knowledge.”
One of the most identifiable icons in Kim’s works is that of the balloon, which he produces in varying materials from a multi-coloured translucent finish, to polished steel, as well as an opaque almost ceramic surface with a protruding belly button. When asked about his use of this imagery in his work, Kim responds: “Of course, most of balloon works were made of helium balloons. When I started employing balloons in my installations, I believed that creating those works was like giving birth or life: I breathe life into the balloons. Life and death coexist in a balloon.” It is thus unsurprising that this icon reappears in ‘Amphibology’, this time bobbing in and out of bottomless cage – perhaps an allusion to how sometimes life can be a cage?
Kim graduated from the University of Seoul in South Korea with a degree in environmental sculpture. During these years he was exposed to the techniques of Korean traditional painting, sculpture, as well as design. He then moved to the United States where he received his MFA in Sculpture form the School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2008. “As a student I took various classes as video, photo, ceramic, sound, and lighting classes. These various classes give me inspiration to make my art works now.” With regards to Kim’s artistic process, it can be seen as something that is rather unorthodox and romantic, as he describes:
“I listen to a whisper from objects within my surroundings. I attempt and intimate, private dialogue with the world, trying to concretely present the way other things approach me, by using other mediums. I mainly use heterogeneous objects. To ask what an objects means to me is like asking what kind of being I am. I have consistently experienced my surrounding objects from the perspective of life, growth, and decline, which lends vitality to my work. I see my environment from the viewpoint of life.”
'Amphibology' is on show at Galerie Paris-Beijing at Paris - Haut-Marais, 62 Rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris, France from 4th May to 17th June 2017. For more information, click here.
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