Here are stains of substances carefully modulated on pure white surfaces for their revelatory indications, washes by recipe allowing a latitude of variation along one axis while retaining numerical limits and control of the other elements. A graph-like evidence emerges, layers of a wordless sign, measurements of specific reactions, or are they calculations of specified emotions. Fragments of a landscape or a specimen each embedded into the surface, each panel a recent fossil of a Now moment, perhaps yours…Now.
Nothing hysterical, no explosions, quite the contrary, targeting perceptions, situations normally overlooked, a laser distillation of small perhaps insignificant occurrences, each panel gathered together one by one, with pauses – breathing spaces, to graph the gentle accumulation of our collective days.
Her own collection of days, 280 days to be exact, in one of Mikyung Kim’s calendar works, is the time it takes to gestate a baby. In another work the span one lifetime – 80 years. Process has become key – the resin dries fast, its mixture with water based inks changes with humidity, the needs of the palette to be regularly refreshed, the size of tools – straight edged palette knife are circumscribed. The time to think is brief. The process becomes ceremony for the surprises and accidents to be harvested, and later, chose which will be re-possessed to start again anew.
Mikyung landscapes of the mind reinvent a way to see, a path to avoid what has become stale, and what is merely a technological innovation, to bring us closer to what is vital. Aesthetic leadership.
Recognize art — its central role. Pushing beyond secular notions of art as secondary in a system that monetizes everything under the sun. A new notion of what is nearly – but never acquires the color – ‘sacred’. To perceive what is truly of value – a basis for changing our ways. The current system is not sacrosanct. It can be changed, just as Mikyung Kim has changed.
As a sculptor of installations she explored metaphysical games in public space as they passed imperceptively into private if not cosmic space. Now the grit and urgency of time creates an elegant validity for perceiving and recognizing what is real, what is remarkable, the pulse of our days as we chose to live them. A language of orderly patience, gentle joys, and engaged surprises.
Support ethical leadership. Power is not the way. Another form of leadership is necessary to move us out of the power arrangements of the post WWII era.
If Mikyung Kim’s art can give us a measure of being human, and if man is not the measure of all things, and never was, then all this, has it just been an excuse to continue in disguise the bellicose traditions of nomadic Europe? Infecting all forms of civil life while sanctioning seductions to power?
In the space between cultures, Mikyung Kim, an Asian American artist, see the changes we feel, the miniscule increments that tic by obscurely, see the rippling fusing conjoining before us, this moment, our moment.
Midst the monumental architecture of our ambition, in the interstices of capital, attention for detritus thrives. Content with seeming insignificance, small rituals, unknown observations hum, the oil of our time.
April 26, 2012 Asian American Arts Centre
Byron Kim, Sokhi Wagner, Michael Joo and Mikyung Kim have in common a metaphysical conceptualism. In the pursuit of their own lines of inquiry, each has produced highly individualized languages.
The Korean-born sculptor moved to New York in 1979. Kim’s sculptures have an architectural quality, yet contain references to quantum mechanics and theoretical physics. The environments created within her works appear to describe actual thought processes and allude to processes of decision making and mathematical theories and systems measurement. These structures are metaphorical representations of contemplative sanctuaries as well as manifestations of an individual psyche.
Since the birth of her first child, Mikyung’s work has referenced the intense experiences of pregnancy, labor and birth. As in her previous works, the new pieces make references to Pythagorean mathematics and systems of measurement. The wall installation Red Calendar 280-1, 1995, is a series of baked enamel grilled plates with dots that range from light red to cherry red. These measure and indicate the condition of her health from the first date of her pregnancy to the delivery date (280 days). From parts of the wall protrude rubber tubes and cables that connect to wall or floor sockets or dangle like cut umbilical cords. This latest work combines the rationality and intellect of her earlier work with issues of existence on a personal and sensate level. Cycles of life – the measurement of bodily functions, of expectancy and disease – are all touched upon. The idea of universal relationships is no longer stringently abstracted, but starts with knowledge of her own bodily processes and mortality. Her work has always been expressive of a sublime cosmic geometry and now extends itself to a poignant conceptual feminism.
Insertion from “In the Eye of the Tiger” New Korean Art in the United States
Art Asia Pacific, Vol. 3, No. 3, Sidney, Australia ,1996
Kim, Mikyung graduated from the College of Fine Arts of Seoul National University and at the Pratt Institute in New York. Now she is actively working in New York. She leaves an indelible impression upon anyone who sees her work which is intellectual and meditative. Any strong expressions and baroque magnificence seem to pale before the abstinent beauty of her work. It seems that minimalism, the aesthetics of simplicity, which is summed up as the smaller the better does exist in Kim, Mikyung’s work.
Kim, Mi-Kyung is an intellectual artist who deftly harmonizes intelligence and sensitivity, as well as reason and intuition. Her works are both conceptual and specific, and metaphysical and sensuous, and are at the same time blurring ail boundaries in art. Her work encompasses nature, culture, technology, art, architecture, sculpture, installation and object, taking a seat somewhere between conceptual art and minimalism. The common characteristics of her work in the 1990 exhibition at Gallery Seomi and the 1995 exhibition at Gallery Nine, is the duality of her work, which transcends dichotomy. Her most recent work has shown a departure from this duality. Kim, Mi-Kyung’s recent work has reflected a significant change from her past work. First, the forms of her work have changed from abstract and straightforward into suggestive and organistic. While her past geometric and architectural works were based on postmodern forms, her recent ones are based on post-minimal deconstruction. In short, it was a change from an abstract constructivism into a metaphorical deconstructivism. And this is the reason her past work seemed to be close to minimalism while her recent work seems to be close to conceptual art. Conceptual art is the starting point of post-modernism, where the aesthetics of formality of modernism is crossed with the aesthetics of content of postmodernism. Then is it fair to see Kim Mi- Kyung’s works as simple adaptations to outside influences or just following styles that change as time goes by?
No. It is not fair. For Kim, Mi-Kyung the change of forms was accompanied by a change of subject. And the change of subject begins with her personal experience. In the past she dealt with metaphysical and philosophical subjects such as the duality and simultaneity of materials. But these days she focuses on human and specific subjects like gestation, life and death. This change began with her experiences including marriage, childbirth and her father’s death. Now she is trying to explore her personal experiences and deal with the wonder and mystery of life rather than the objective truth of space.
With the change of form and subject Kim Mi-Kyung ran across a new genre, body art. Her recent experiences were physical ones, and now she manifests her psychological, mental and sexual identity by expressing the human body. The dented or bulged geometrical forms which allude to the navel and breast, the umbilical cord which droops like a soft sculpture and the red colors which suggest the ovum and menstruation. With her suggestive and metaphorical expressions of women’s bodies, Kim, Mi-Kyung is trying to ascertain her existence and sexual identity. She is talking about feminism through her expressions on sexual identity and her post minimal works mean breaking away from the patriarchal dominance of our society.
“Artist to note, World of Kim, Mikyung’s Art”
SPACE, Korea April ,1995
Ending in more contemplative mood architect Michel Kagan has designed an 80- foot sandpit crossed by a ramp, and Mikyung Kim has scattered the surrounding sand with blue and yellow latticework frames. Dancer Lisa Kraus will set her troupe in motion here, to music by John Hagan on July 29 and August 1. I wasn’t impressed from distance, but sitting on the ramp, tired from tramping through sand, I realized that this is the only sculpture that sticks to the plane of the beach. The other sculptures dominate their surroundings, this one is pure receptivity, as though the frames were radar receivers for signals from deep space-stellar space or mind space.