Angles Gallery is pleased to present its first exhibition of works by Soo Kim. The exhibition will include hand-cut photographs from two recent bodies of work: Dubrovnik, and Elysian. Kim's exhibition will be on view from January 8 to February 12, 2010, with an opening reception on January 8th from 6 to 8 pm.
Soo Kim's practice centers on the subtraction of visual information from the picture plane. Kim photographs her subject matter and then, through a process of precise cutting, she subtracts information from the surface of the printed photograph. Through these cuts and subtractions, Kim creates a "slowness," about the work. Kim's term, "slowness," refers both to the time required to produce works of such intricacy and also the amount of time required of the viewer to interpret the image. According to Kim, photography is a subtractive medium to begin with: "You put your camera in front of the world and you reduce that world; subtract it into one frame." The ability to capture reality into a single picture plane has multiplied rapidly in the current era of cell phone cameras; photography today has come to represents a speed of processing data. And it is this speed that Kim reverses through her practice. By cutting into the surface of the print, Kim furthers the reduction of information, resulting in a slower yet more complex interpretation of the subject matter, while literally opening the picture plane, imbuing the photograph with the attributes of an object. ..
In the Dubrovnik series, Soo Kim layers two sets of hand cut prints, one on top of another. Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a walled city comprised of monochromatic buildings of comparable architectural styles, similar to modern cities made up of designed communities such as Irvine or Valencia, California. Kim photographed the city by traveling the outer wall, pointing her camera inward, toward the architecture. The compilation of multiple images taken from different vantage points evokes the cubist intention of representing multiple vantage points on a single picture plane. By cutting away at the walls and roofs, Kim reduces the city to an essential framework, interrupting the homogeny of the façade to reveal that which is unique in each structure.
The photographs from the Elysian series were taken from a hilltop in Elysian park, overlooking Los Angeles. Rather than aiming her camera down, to capture the view of the city, Soo Kim positioned the camera to shoot straight ahead, through the tree branches populated by birds. The series presents an idea of looking at landscape not as a record of geography or culture, but as a living moment that can be experienced. Kim cuts away at the branches of the trees, leaving birds suspended over the shadow of the branches absence. The cut paper cascades forward, out of
the picture plane, revealing light metallic hues of paint that Kim has used to treat the back side of the prints. The Elysian photographs dance the line between photograph and sculptural form, the lace netting of the falling branches inverts the structure of the trees with the ephemeral sky, while the iridescence of paint creates a constant play of animated light.
The titles of the photographs of Dubrovnik are taken from the stage directions of Bertold Brecht's play, The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1944.) Titles of the works from the Elysian series are taken from Jean Genet, The Balcony (1955). Stage directions inform the elocution of language in the performance of a play that the audience is not privy to. Though the language is present in the script, the stage direction is silent in the performance of a play. Kim draws a parallel between this silence and the absence of photographic information that she removes by cutting her prints.
In addition to the Dubrovnik and Elysian series Soo Kim is curating an exhibition in gallery three. Sing me to sleep is an exhibition of works from Soo Kim's personal collection which has, hitherto, lived in the private space of the artist's bedroom. Kim acquired these works as gifts or trades over the years; they are the first thing she sees in the morning and the last thing that she sees at night. Through time, the works continue to reveal themselves, referencing the slowness that influences Kim's practice. Sing me to sleep is made up of artwork by Linda Burnham, Phil Chang, Richard Choi, Morgan Cuppet-Michelsen, Christa Garcia, Alex Hartley, Siri Kaur, Tania Kovats, Tracy Powell, and Mark Wyse.
Soo Kim has exhibited nationally and internationally at The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Orange County Museum of Art, the Gwangju Biennale, Gwanju, South Korea, the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art, Copenhagen, the California Museum of Photography, Riverside, the Oakland Museum of Art, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Poughkeepsie, NY, the University Art Museum, Cal State Long Beach, the Centro Cultural Tijuana, Mexico, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, among others. Soo Kim received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and lives and works in Los Angeles.