With a career spanning over 40 years, Kim Yong-Ik’s practice has focused on deconstructing the visual tropes of modernism, primarily through the medium of painting. According to the artist, the contemporary art world has reached a point of “fatigue,” where its techniques have become exhausted. In response, the artist has adopted a strategy in his own work wherein he is constantly edits and re-appropriates works from his own oeuvre, reworking older paintings and intentionally employing the same imagery over and over again. In this way he foregrounds how the marks of painting are literally being recycled—pointedly implicating the market in this production.
Speaking of Latter Genesis focuses on Kim’s continued fascination with the polka dot, a pattern the artist has incorporated in his work since the 1990s. A former student of the seminal Dansaekhwa artist Park Seo-Bo, Kim Yong-Ik’s fixation on the dot can be linked to his instructor’s fondness for seriality in composition. However, unlike the organic vocabulary employed in Dansaekhwa, the shapes in Kim’s paintings have a precision that differentiates them, they are more industrial and cerebral. In direct contrast to this reference to modernism, however, Kim intentionally allows his canvasses to become soiled over time, an embrace of entropy that directly alludes to their being in a constant state of change. It is this openness to imperfections juxtaposed with the meticulously painted dots that charges the artist’s work with a subtle but powerful critique—denying them a finished, canonical position. Indeed, Kim embraces imperfection by intentionally scribbling notes on his canvasses and occasionally even burying them underground to hasten their decay.
For his exhibition at Tina Kim Gallery, the artist has created a site-specific installation that engages directly with the space. A series of dots line the room, moving off the canvas and directly onto the walls. By expanding his work beyond the painting surface and into the physical gallery space, the architecture becomes part of the work itself, demonstrating the artist’s refusal to be bound by the constraints of traditional artworks.
Tina Kim Gallery is pleased to announce that coinciding with the exhibition a new monograph on the artist will be published by French publishing house Cahiers d’Art. Entitled Kim Yong-Ik, the book includes texts by Beck Jee-Sook, Director of the Seoul Museum of Art; curator, art critic, and Cahiers d’Art editor Hans Ulrich Obrist; and Philippe Vergne, Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, Portugal. The artist will celebrate the book’s release with signed copies available at the opening.