Arario Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in Frieze Masters 2021, which will take place at The Regent’s Park in London from 13 October to 17 October 2021. For Frieze Masters’ “Spotlight” section, Arario Gallery will present the “One Stroke of Painting (I-Hua)” and “Saekdong” series by Soungui KIM.
A pioneer of multidisciplinary art from Korea, multimedia artist Soungui KIM (b. 1946), has been active in establishing her career through creating and teaching since moving to France in 1971. The artist’s interest in Eastern and Western philosophies and her experimentation with various media has led KIM to create experiential and situational work. Among the artist’s nonconforming attitudes, the idea of “I-Hua” through archery, and “Saekdong” (traditional Korean multicolored pattern) takes on an important role.
Soungui KIMOne Stroke of Painting, 1975-1985
“From high school, KIM was fascinated by Korean traditional archery, and spent many hours watching the elderly archers practice shooting at Hwanghakjeong. After persistent observation from the top of a hill, she was finally given permission to learn the traditional skill. Archery required a combination of physical movement and mental judgement, and KIM was interested in it enough to continue her practice even after moving to France. The artist’s video works contain the image of the artist shooting arrows. The painting of a single stroke made with a large brush, accompanied by a video, reminds us of Shitao’s “I-Hua Theory”. Interested not only in the act of archery, but also in the colors composing the target board, KIM also presents drawings that analyze shooting records through color. Her long interest in Eastern thought also led her to use Eastern philosophy to analyze the significance of the five traditional colors composing the target. Following her long interest in traditional color stripes and mandalas, she linked these to TV color bars. The color stripes overlapped with the color bars on the TV screen, signifying the world containing the energy of all creation.”
- Soojung YI, Curator, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
Yi, S.J. (2019) ‘About the “Work Meeting the Everyday Together with People, Following the Moments, Using What Is Not There” - One and All: Connecting the Poles’, in Soungui KIM: Lazy Clouds. p. 25. Exhibition catalogue.
Soungui KIMTarget-Painting, 1985
“Even though Korean elements such as color stripes, traditional archery, calligraphy, shamanism and Buddhist cremation ceremony frequently appear as subject matter in her work, and her thoughts are also deeply rooted in Eastern philosophies including those of Zhuangzi, Laozi and Buddhism, her work is unrelated to Orientalism or to non-Occidentality as a stranger. That is because her Eastern nature was not established in being conscious of others (or in relation to the outside), but was formed naturally as she pursued what she liked and what interested her, remaining true to herself. This way of being has led to the most fundamental and important of KIM’s characteristics—that is, the transparent accord between the artist and her work, the unity of her life and art. KIM’s interest in traditional culture began when she was young. As a high school student, she went to the National Gugak Center to learn the danso (Korean bamboo flute), and practiced traditional archery at Hwanghakjeong.”
- HyeJin MUN, Art Critic, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
Mun, H.J. (2019) ’Video-O Time-One’s Place’, in Soungui KIM: Lazy Clouds. p. 61. Exhibition catalogue.
Soungui KIMTarget-Painting-1, 1985
KIM Soungui’s “One Stroke of Painting” series, which documents over a decade’s worth of experimentation with archery, evidences the continual change found in the landscape, space, time, and even the artist herself. However, there is one factor that remains constant: the act of shooting an arrow. The arrow is catapulted from bow to target. The sound of the arrow coursing through the wind and piercing through its final destination transcends the flow of time.
The “Peinture-Cible” paintings from this series were developed from the impracticality of replacing the target each time, which meant that the artist would shoot at the same —already punctured —target upon filling the holes. The worn target, pierced and mended by the artist, records the repetitive act of shooting an arrow, which allows for clarity and self-awareness; training not only the body but also the mind.
Text Reference: Dr. JOO, Henna, “On Soungui KIM’s Art”, Contemporary Art Forum, August 2020
Soungui KIMTarget-Painting-2, 1988
“I have been practicing archery on and off for a very long time. It is both a physical and spiritual exercize for me. After I came to France, I took up archery again in Provence. As I practiced archery again, I sometimes needed to draw my own targets, which brought me back to painting.”
- Soungui KIM
“Korean Artist Digital Archive Project, Soungui KIM”, Korea Arts Management Service, 202
Soungui KIMDrawing for I-Hua (One Stroke of Painting), 1975
“Before I start a project, I tend to make drawings of the preliminary idea or technical concept I have in mind; in other words, concept or technical drawings. This process helps to give my ideas a concrete form. Even after a work is born out of this idea, I continue to analyze it so that yet another idea grows out of it. The new idea can lead to the modification of the work or it becomes the substance for the next project”
- Soungui KIM
“Korean Artist Digital Archive Project, Soungui KIM”, Korea Arts Management Service, 2020
Soungui KIMSaekdong Cloud, 1987
“Cible-Nuage (Saekdong Cloud)” is made with Saekdong, a traditional multicolored fabric from Korea. On top of the stretched fabric, KIM paints a cloud with traditional Korean ink, which reflects the artist’s attitude of living like the clouds, roaming freely above today’s fast paced society. Finding creative impulses from laziness, she discovers the essence of life and its infinite possibilities.
This series was conceived shortly after her collaborative performance with Nam June PAIK in 1984, underlining the intellectual exchange among the experimental artists during the era.
Soungui KIMSaekdong Mandala 2, 1985
Soungui KIM’s “Saekdong Mandala” series draws on the fundamental philosophy of spiritual focus, found across various Eastern religions. The mandala (Sanskrit for “circle”) is an instrument of meditation that acts as a guide for introspection and self-awareness.
While inherent to Eastern culture, the concept of the mandala is now widely received in the West, as a result of Carl JUNG’s exploration into interpreting the mandala as a symbol of self-acceptance and self-understanding. JUNG’s work opened up the possibility for secular uses of the mandala. In the context of modernity, the mandala—regardless of its visual representation—leads to the individuation process, representing an attempt by the conscious self to integrate to unconscious material.
This symbolic representation of the universe, most commonly taking the form of a circle, or a series of circles, often enclosed in a rectangular frame is reflected in the imagery of KIM’s works through the combination of Saekdong and traditional Korean ink.
Text Reference: Jung, C. (1973). Mandala Symbolism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
As one of Korea’s first women artists to work in multimedia, Soungui KIM has led the Korean experimental art scene since the 1960s. Born in 1946 in Buyeo, Korea, KIM graduated from the Department of Painting at Seoul National University. In 1971, she was invited by the Centre Artistique de Rencontre International, Nice to continue her practice in France. Ever since her employment at École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Marseille in 1974, she has continued to work as a multimedia artist across France and Korea.
In 2019, KIM held a large-scale retrospective exhibition, Soungui KIM: Lazy Clouds at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea and participated in the group exhibition Another Energy: Power to Continue Challenging—16 Women Artists from around the World, curated by Mami Kataoka, at Mori Museum of Art, Japan earlier this year. The artist is also scheduled to hold a solo exhibition at the ZKM Center for Art and Media and participate in the 58th Carnegie International in 2022.
KIM has also had numerous solo exhibitions internationally, such as Passage at Centre d’Art Contemporain, Troyes, France and O-time at Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain de Nice, France. Her works are collected by major institutions including Centre Pompidou, France; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Maison Européenne De La Photographie, France; FRAC Franche-Comté, France; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; ARARIO Museum, Korea and many more.
Text Reference: Soungui Kim: Lazy Clouds (2019). Seoul: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea. Exhibition catalogue.