Coups Contemporary is delighted to present A Missing Chatter, a solo exhibition of new works by Hee Jyung Kim marking the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery and her first London solo exhibition. Kim has taken over the gallery space, coating the walls in a series of new drawings and cutouts created specifically for the gallery’s position at 53 Great Portland St. Rubbings, etchings, and hand made marks fill the walls, echoing the hustle of life that takes place beyond the gallery walls. Kim looks for the secrets in the space, incorporating numbers or repeated letters into the works, searching for traces and clues about the relationship between the space and herself. Bright, fluorescent coloured cutouts sit atop this background, the people within the space. Singular or coupled, these pieces act as conversation, passers by shrouded by anonymity.
Through exploring the gallery building, Kim has personified the space. The story of Zhuang Zhou, a Chinese philosopher and Taoist, became a recurring thought for her;
‘The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. "All men," they said, "have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn't have any. Let's trying boring him some!’
In creating the exhibition Kim wished to create the space as human, to become a living creature part of the world from which the works draw their life. Like Zhao’s story, Kim has given the gallery seven openings, four windows and a door that already existed and etching two new windows within the space so that it can see, hear, taste, and smell the beautiful world around. These new windows also allow us to further reflect on the stories we can see in the works, creating a visual link to the places they come from and the people that inspired them.
The exhibition symbolises the dichotomy of life in London. The work presents a landscape of the city where brightness, colourfulness, and diversity coexists with a dark, lonely coldness. In passing life Kim finds darkness in the barriers she faces through language. Drawing becomes a cathartic process she describes as vomiting or shouting onto the paper. Words she cannot say pile up inside and so a repeated process of revealing and destroying images found around her simultaneously expose and cloud meaning. Events and conversations that are not understood or cannot be conveyed find their place within the works, forming the missing chatter from the Kim’s own life.
Hee Jyung Kim is a South Korean artist living and working in London. She completed her MA in Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL in 2021. Her work has featured in recent solo at Hongcheon Museum, South Korea (2022); and Space 9, South Korea (2021). Recent selected group exhibitions include: Air Gallery, Manchester (2022), D-Contemporary, London (2022) and Saatchi Gallery, London (2021).