Kim Juwon: The night, the past recalls the past

When 22 Apr 2021 - 22 May 2021
Where DOOSAN Gallery New York
533 W 25th St
New York, NY 10001
United States

DOOSAN Gallery New York presents The night, the past recalls the past, a solo exhibition by Kim Juwon from April 22 to May 22, 2021. A recipient of the 2019 10th DOOSAN Artist Award, Kim is currently staying in New York as one of the artists of Spring 2021 DOOSAN Residency New York. For this exhibition, which is his first solo exhibition in New York, he shows the combination of photographic images, text, and music.

Kim Juwon documents his daily life in snapshots and works based on the amassed images raising a question about how images are reproduced and function. While photography works are usually taken with a set theme or object, Kim takes a picture as a daily routine before having to think about the result. By using a small camera equipped with a pop-up flash and single focus lens, he takes a photo as if he is scanning the surface of the objects. As this type of camera does not capture images until getting closer to the objects, Kim takes snapshots fragmentally within the micro distance under limited circumstances. Images in his work are treated like a word, sentence, and poetic word. He reorganizes and uses it as individual material to execute his experiments. While he has been accumulating these photos in a folder called, ‘Failed Documentary,’ for over 10 years, he uploads and archives them randomly regardless of their original timeline.

One of the ‘Failed Documentary’ series, this exhibition consists of 92-minute video work, The night, the past recalls the past edit 1-2 (2019), and an installation of images used in this work in various forms, such as poster, book, and sequence table. For this exhibition, he recalls the memories related to the disorganized photos based on the metadata of the original files and explains the past of the photographs. The video work is composed of 313 ‘shots’ that Kim took himself, 102 ‘reference’ images that he scrapped from the Web, and 61 ‘kireji’ -a cutting word to separate parts in Japanese short-form poetry, haiku- that divide the sequences of the video. In the midst of fragmented images from the past calling up one after another like the way of free association, a new narrative is restructured along with the music. The beginning of Kim’s video states, “Ireneo Funes died in 1889, of congestion of the lungs,” the last sentence of Jorge Luis Borges’s short novel, Funes, His Memory, which implies memory and death. Unlike Funes who was able to remember absolutely everything, Kim fails to recall the past thoroughly and fills the time in the past with a new fiction along the ambiguous boundary of whether the image is true or not. As a narrative in the fiction is constructed with the weave of coincidental events that seem unrelated to one another, he creates a structure similar to one of the surrealist novels by listing unassociated images in a row. He raises a question about photography’s objectivity as a recording tool vs. subjectivity as a medium of memory and makes the border fade out. While recording everyday life with a video is so common nowadays, this exhibition strives to examine the meaning of documentation and remembrance of the events and people through the flatness of photographs.

Kim Juwon (b.1981) received his B.F.A. in Photography from Seoul Institute of the Arts and M.F.A. in Fine Art from Korea National University of Arts. He has held solo exhibitions at DOOSAN Gallery Seoul (2020, Seoul, Korea), archive bomm (2017, Seoul, Korea), and nowhere (2016-17, Seoul, Korea). Kim also has presented his work in several group exhibitions at Busan Biennale (2020, Busan, Korea), Art Space Pool (2020, Seoul, Korea), Art Sonje Center (2019, Seoul, Korea), Buk-Seoul Museum of Art (2018, Seoul, Korea), Audio Visual Pavilion (2014, Seoul, Korea), etc. He co-curated the photo exhibitions/sales platform, The Scrap (2016-2019). As a DOOSAN Artist Award recipient (2019), Kim is currently staying in New York as a Spring 2021 DOOSAN Residency New York artist.

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Image courtesy of the event organizer.