Kukje Gallery is pleased to announce Endless Drawing, a solo exhibition of work by Kim Yong-Ik on view from March 20 to April 22, 2018. This is the artist’s second showing at the gallery following his first exhibition of new paintings in 2016. For Endless Drawing, Kim will show a range of approximately forty never-before-seen “drawings” that have served as the bedrock of his practice over almost forty years, dating from the 1980s to the present.
Deviating from the tradition of distinguishing between painting and drawing by medium, Kim defines a “painting” as work that is self-contained and results in a finished product whereas a "drawing" is characterized by its openness that is embracive of an ongoing process. These distinctions are based on the artist's belief that a "painting," when completed, should not allow any additional edits, whereas “drawings” can be endlessly altered over time.
Since the beginning of his practice in the 1970s, Kim Yong-Ik has made work that challenges underlying principles of modernism. He has consistently tried to upend the viewer’s expectations, undermining predominant typologies of art and their resultant cultural and economic hierarchies. The basis of this critique is Kim’s argument that artwork should be allowed to change in a process he terms “eco-anarchism,” thereby producing works that teeter between modernism and eco-anarchism. Eco-anarchism challenges the way the market preserves artwork as a fixed commodity; in response, Kim embraces entropy, the contamination of mediums over time that he cultivates through a process of intentional neglect. He also advocates for the use of old and humble materials in a bid to short-circuit the emphasis on monetary value and challenge existing social mores. This philosophy has remained a consistent thread throughout Kim’s long career beginning with his Plane Object series in the 1970s, followed by the geometric compositions from the 1980s, his dot paintings from the 1990s, earlier works that have been entombed in coffins from the 2000s, to his recent works that feature canvas works bound in packing materials and left unattended. In this way, the artist’s interest in works maintaining a status of ongoing process as drawing took on a new relevance that continues to today.
Such philosophy behind Kim Yong-Ik’s practice delays and obstructs the existing, established compositions and interpretation of his works. Not only do the mold, dirt, and scratches that accrue on the artwork bear evidence of the passing of time but they also allow for an evolving interpretation of the work. In addition, Kim continues to add new layers to his existing work by scribbling short diaristic entries onto the surface, burying old works in a wooden frame, carelessly leaving a canvas outside of his studio for the work to gather mold, or transforming a collection of drawings into an installation. This forms an asymmetric yet interesting relationship with the overarching customs of the contemporary arts scene, including the issues of preservation, conservation, archiving, packaging, transportation, and circulation. Endless Drawing showcases a diverse group of works that share the common denominator of “conceptual-drawings” that challenge the notion that drawing is limited to works on paper.
As part of his wide-ranging practice Kim has always been a writer, publishing his ideas and using language both in essay form and on his canvases. The below text embodies the artist’s philosophy, articulating his goals for the show at Kukje Gallery.
About the Artist
Kim Yong-Ik was born in Seoul in 1947 and graduated from Hongik University in 1980 with an MFA in Painting. He served as a professor of Painting at the Arts and Design College in Gachon University (former Kyungwon University) from 1991 to 2012. In 1999, Kim co-established Art Space Pool (former Alternative Space Pool), one of the first alternative art spaces in Korea, and served as its representative member from 2004 to 2006. As an enduring critic, writer, and an artist for the past four decades, Kim has been working in various contexts spanning modernism, the Minjung art movement, land art, and public art, continuously questioning his practice and art. Following his successful retrospectives at Ilmin Museum of Art (2016) as well as Spike Island, Bristol and Korean Cultural Centre UK, London (2017), Kim’s oeuvre has been garnering increasing attention from the international audience. The extensive practice of Kim’s career will also be presented at Art Basel Hong Kong Kabinett sector from March 29 to 31, 2018.
Kim Yong-Ik has held solo exhibitions at numerous institutions including I Believe My Works Are Still Valid, Spike Island, Bristol, and Korean Cultural Centre UK, London (2017), Closer... Come Closer..., Ilmin Museum of Art, Seoul (2016), Timidly Resisting the No-Pain-Civilization, Art Space Pool, Seoul (2011), and Kumho Museum of Art, Seoul (1997). Selected group exhibitions include the 5th Yokohama Triennale (2014), SeMA Gold 2012: Hidden Track at Seoul Museum of Art (2012), Nature and Peace, Geumgang Nature Art Biennale (2010), After the Grid, Busan Museum of Art (former Busan Museum of Modern Art; 2002), The 1st Korean Young Artists Biennial, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (1981), the 13th São Paulo Art Biennial (1975), and a series of Independants exhibitions at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art from 1974 to 1979. His works are in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Busan Museum of Art; Seoul Museum of Art; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles among many others.