Kim Yong-Ik: I Believe My Works Are Still Valid

Kim Yong-Ik I Believe My Works Are Still Valid

I thought this exhibition was an excellent example of conceptual screenprinting. I know that wasn’t the motivation behind this work, but it has been a concept floating around in my mind, and seemed to come to life in this exhibition. Primarily because of the polka dot motif that seemed to be used throughout his work.  Also, the layering used in his sculptural works. For example, one of his pieces titled Triptych (1970-2015), was a large wall mounted box of layered mixed-media pieces.  Layers of painting, ink on paper, found objects, almost like a shrine, but if you put your eyes slightly out of focus, this could have been one painting, almost in the style of Rauschenberg, but less representational, and more muted in colour. A controversial statement I realise, but there is a similarity I cannot ignore.

Other pieces were much more minimal, like the Untitled paintings from the 1990s. These are large works, maybe 7 feet x 7 feet, with large coloured dots the size of your hand.  These made me think more of zoomed in dots through an overhead enlarger from primary school. The way they were painted soft, like a memory, nostalgic.

I think one of my favourite parts of this exhibition was his sense of humour. He left handwritten notes in pencil beside some of the works.  It was a real treat to find these.  Often conceptual work can be very serious and inward thinking, cerebral and difficult, empty and pretentious, but I really admired his sense of play.  Without knowing his work, I can’t help but make a huge assumption that it is the artist’s age that has allowed him to relax. Imagine if we all started that way!?Spike Island, Bristol, 30 September to 17 December 2017

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