The Korean Cultural Centre, London (KCCUK) presents Dawns, Mine, Crystal, the first UK solo exhibition from South Korean artist Yunchul Kim. The exhibition marks Kim’s nomination as ‘2018 Artist of the Year’, KCCUK’s major annual award programme. Working within the realms of contemporary art, science and visual effects, the exhibition comprises installations, drawings and sketchbooks and premieres the new work Cascade (2018), a joint commission by KCCUK, FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, Liverpool) and Arts at CERN (the arts programme of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva).
Kim’s work focuses on the research of new materiality and the artistic potential of fluid dynamics and metamaterials (synthetic materials that exhibit properties not commonly found in natural materials). Creating objects and installations which transfer cosmic radiation, acoustic, and/or vibrating impulses into ever-changing, fascinating yet puzzling images, spectators are given a glimpse into the worlds of alchemy, astrophysics and new technologies: strange, unfamiliar and, at the same time, captivating.
Cascade, a fluid kinetic installation resulting from Kim’s two-month residency at Arts at CERN and one-month at FACT as part of the Collide International Residency Award, is suspended in the gallery space – similarly to that of a chandelier. Consisting of 18 meter-long interconnecting transparent tubes, fluid continually circulates within them. Exploring the artistic potential of fluid dynamics (the science of liquids and gases in motion), the work investigates the possibility of controlling the propagation of light through suspended photonic crystals.
The exhibition title Dawns, Mine, Crystal – a direct reference to the work of Raymond Roussel, a pioneer of experimental writing – establishes an intersection of a ‘world of materials’ with complex layers of metaphors and symbols. For Kim, material is not merely a basis for creating forms and images, but a protagonist of creation itself. In installation works such as Triaxial Pillars II (2017), particles and fluids undergo multiple transition states - sometimes as part of a fixed process and sometimes intuitively - transforming their own materiality. Describing his mode of practice as “psychological, sensual and symptomatic”, Kim seeks to materialise the realm of the imaginary.
Presented alongside a series of Kim’s sketchbooks is a large-scale pencil drawing entitled Amorphic Scape (2012). Exploring the idea of matter as the basis for artistic creation, the work reveals an intricate, linear composition. Almost invisible at first glance, the subtle drawing compels the viewer to closely inspect the surface of the paper. Referencing engravings from early modern science, Amorphic Scape illustrates an artistic response to the principles of fluid dynamics, as both creative experience and a form of experimentation.
Cascade was co-produced by the ScANNER network (consisting of Arts at CERN and FACT, as well as Le Lieu Unique, Nantes; CCCB, Barcelona; iMAL, Brussels) in collaboration with KCCUK. Cascade will be part of Quantica, a touring exhibition by Collide residency artists travelling to FACT in November 2018 and onwards to Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona in Spring 2019, Le Lieu Unique in Autumn / Winter 2019 and iMAL in Spring 2020.