CI KIM: Voice of Harmony

23 May - 13 October 2019 Cheonan
Press release

ARARIO GALLERY presents CI KIM's tenth solo exhibition Voice of Harmony, on show from May 23 to October 13, 2019. This exhibition will introduce approximately 100 works that cross genres, covering painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, photography, video, readymade object, and more.


CI KIM's story always starts with a container in which he put his eggs for breakfast, or a white plastic spoon, or even a coffee that gets cold. One day, he said:


I find beauty in objects that have accidentally come to me.
I do not define the end of my work.
Even with work that I once thought was finished, other objects get added or removed later.
I couldn't work on a desert island because I get inspired from everyday objects and incorporate them into my practice.


He has long been interested in working with everyday objects and transforming them into a state of harmony. Actively utilizing the contingency found within the surface, his work is always based on the assumption that the final result will be open-ended. In his oeuvre of nearly twenty years, the artist has repeatedly experimented with the combination of different materials. Through alteration, intervention, and transposition, he blends seemingly incompatible objects such as tomatoes, blueberries, iron powder, wood, cement, bronze, disposable plastics, rubbish found in the ocean, magazines, and neon to explore the tensions, energy, and dynamics that occur between them. CI KIM often compares himself to a chef who creates amazing dishes using different ingredients or even an orchestral conductor controlling the pacing of the music and shaping the sound of the ensemble. His work relies heavily on process to create harmony and order using the visual rhythms created by colors, lines, shapes, and textures.


This exhibition is CI KIM's tenth solo, which explore genres as diverse as painting, sculpture, installation, drawing, photography, video, and ready-made objects. It primarily focuses on paintings with abstract surfaces including a series of paintings that are colored with coffee, made with wood glue, and, in one instance, made from an aluminum panel with multiple cuts from an axe on the surface. The exhibition also showcases new works including a six-meter-long installation that is composed of the age-worn carpet he used to use in his studio coupled with hundreds of everyday objects.


Installed on the fourth floor of the museum, a series of mannequin works comprise a fundamental part of his practice, framing questions about how he has used this form within the context of sculptural self-portraits. Reviewing the artist's previous works, it is easy to find a number of self-portraits. In the early 2000s, when he first began his career as an artist, photographic works and performance pieces consisting of his self-portraits were central to his work. Afterwards, his horn frame glasses became a recurring leitmotif replacing his literal portrait. Objects in the form of rectangular shapes such as a box, a Styrofoam cube, and a refrigerator wore horn frame glasses as he playfully engaged them in creating self-portraits. In his recent works, the artist has expanded this practice to include abandoned mannequins, which he dabs with cement, clothes with a hat and mask, and even casts in bronze.


For what reasons does the artist continue his experiments in self-portraiture across different art forms? Known for possessing multiple identities, CI KIM may choose whichever identity he needs whenever he wants, just as an Undertale computer game player may change their SOUL's color to alter the way their game character behaves. For example, while the SOUL is red, it is in Determination Mode. When purple, the SOUL is in Perseverance Mode, becoming patient in facing and surviving adversity. Rainbow SOUL, which can change its color freely, is associated with hope. CI KIM's SOUL would consist of rainbow colors as he holds fluctuating identities ranging from an entrepreneur for a number of different businesses to an art collector and an artist. He even remembers the shimmering colors of a rainbow he saw when he was young and tries to reach the diversity and harmony he felt from it. In his childhood, CI KIM once saw a rainbow over Namsan Mountain after the rain and he was deeply moved by the shimmering and harmonious colors of the rainbow, which has motivated him to make art until today. In this exhibition, we hope to provide the visitors with an opportunity to listen to the beautiful melody of his works.

Installation Views