FOSSIL OF HIGH NOON by MINOUK LIM at TINA KIM GALLERY [from 20220519 to 20220701]

[Photos: Dario Lasagni]

Fossil of High Noon is paradoxical.

The sun of high noon makes the shadows that fall to the ground the darkest. A fossil in itself is close to a ghost-state. A space without location is born as it approaches the present without notice, though it has existed since the deep past. The simultaneous and fragmentary heterochrony remind us of time’s irreversibility. This exhibition is about departure due to spatial and temporal discrepancies, while simultaneously containing the possibility of reunion.

Fossil of High Noon alludes to today’s world; hatred, war, terrorism, globalization, refugees (located in non-places), climate change, and diseases repeat in an endless cycle.

Minouk Lim (b. 1968) continues to center aesthetics and politics in her artistic practice, rejecting binaries of subject and other; individual and community; documentary and fiction; assailant and victim; active and passive. Lim has stated that aesthetic practice provides imperative new models by which to criticize histories of omission, as well as to formulate new avenues of questioning.[1] She explores measurements of time in unchronological order and reexamines signs emerging from the midst of oblivion through suspicion and speculation. From a sculpture in a non-fixed and fragile form, a sound that flows and disappears, a video that aligns facts and fictions in jump cuts, a performance that becomes complete with the assembly of bodies and witnessing, to a piece in which each of these mediums interacts with and translates one another, Lim’s media works translate the hidden voices and figures of history through the “readjustment of senses.” Critic Namsee Kim has referred to Lim’s approach to media as psychic, in that her works “track down the disappeared and the invisible” through a state of being “fluid, disappearing, and invisible.”  

The work Portable Keeper_Sea begins with a bird’s eye view. Buoy sea markers wander around a swimming girl and form a distinctive territory. The girl submits her body to the waves of the sea, a skirt and jeogori[2] weltering under the water, creating a parallel. Between the sky and the sea; above and below water; tradition and the present; memory and future; life and death; the camera sutures these binaries and allows estranged generations to coexist in an alternate dimension. The low bell chimes in the video scatter on, taking over one another’s howling echo. Buddhist wind chimes in the shape of a carp fish allude to a proverb, “Fish do not close their eyes even in sleep,” an effort to both stay awake and devote oneself to self-discipline. Lim’s grandmother, who stood alone without solitude, taught her self-organization and the “power of imagining the unseen”.

Dudu Mulmul (頭頭物物), sculptures installed along with the video, contains a diverse assortment of miscellanea that could have arrived at any or all seashore(s) in the world. Each object embodies an uncertain secret of when, where, and how it came to be there. The confluence of these fragments of time-space becomes a sculpture with fluid materials such as transparent resin. Critic Harry C. H. Choi mentioned,

“Lim imagines a medium that resists stasis and is constantly in the process of formation and articulation—one that could be characterized as a model of sculpture as verb… the artist’s sculptures could be construed as literally producing actions and reactions in the present continuous, as they assume the possibility of being morphed and re-arranged, seek to deliver memories of the past, and resist pre-existing customs of the medium.”[3]    

These works are also accompanied by Discreetly, a spiraling frame or door-shaped form with a layered set of allusions in its title, spanning from a nameplate centered at the top of the sculpture. The Korean “sori-somun” (“sound-rumor”) is written on the nameplate, referencing an idiom that translates “without any sound or rumor,” meaning “stealthily” or “without revealing.” Lim complicates this idiomatic gesture by excluding the Korean word for “without” from the title, allowing the connotation of “discreet” to mingle with the idea of a small gateway for a sound. If Lim’s Portable Keeper illustrate an inclination toward movement, continuation, circulation and conversion of states of being, the work instead speaks to the simultaneous gestures of the invisible and the separable.

In the front gallery, Lim showcases her new liquid drawing series Dudu, using fluid and heat sensitive materials such as resin as a thin, transparent bed for strands of nylon adorned with protruding thorns.

Directly facing the drawing, her new Portable Keeper pieces in this exhibition appear as though dredged from an era of dinosaurs or forgotten kings. The cane resembles animals with bones and feathers, neither natural nor artificial. The senses that evaporate, scatter, or shatter before making sense in the world, the byproducts of a fragile world that can only be felt by fumbling, lend their bodies and senses to the canes and form an antithesis of compassion. The victims who were massacred without knowing in the standoff of the ideological camps; brothers separated in war and forgetful of each other’s names and faces; the lives that have embraced and endured what still cannot be said are far from living in a clear or simple world. The subtle chime of a bell in the wind, the intangible waves of shimmering heat, and the world after parting all address us through not language, but senses.

Like the cuckoo in the clock that never fails to tell the time, even in an empty house, Portable Keeper mourns the scattering hopelessness of oblivion.

[1] Clara Kim. Journeys of the 25th Hour, Jun 1, Walker Reader, 2012

[2] Korean traditional jacket, upper garment of Korean traditional clothes

[3] Harry C. H. Choi, “Sculpture as Verb: Notes on Minouk Lim’s Material Praxis,” in Night Shift, exh. cat., ed. Minkyung Yoo. Seoul, Korea: Seoul Museum of Art, 2022.  
Minouk Lim’s major solo exhibitions include New Town Ghost GAGAHOHO, DAAD gallery, Berlin, Germany (2017); The Promise of If at PLATEAU Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2015); United Paradox at Portikus, Frankfurt (2015); Heat of Shadow at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2012); and Jump Cut in Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2008). Lim has presented a series of site-specific performances and projects including Fire Cliff (2010-2015) and  Endless Void, Curatorial Project at Democracy Human Rights Memorial Hall, Seoul (2019); O Tannenbaum performance project, ASAKUSA Space Production, Tokyo (2018). Lim has also participated in a number of group exhibitions and biennials including Title Match 2021: Minouk Lim vs. Young-Gyu Jang at Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul (2021); Born a Woman, Suwon Museum of Art, Suwon, Korea (2020); the Setouchi Triennale (2016); Sydney Biennial (2016); Taipei Biennial (2016); Political populism, Kunsthalle Wien (2015); Paris Triennale 2012; Liverpool Biennial (2010); The Time of Others, Museum of Tokyo (2010), and Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea, LACMA (2009-10). Lim’s works reside in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum; Centre Pompidou; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts, Korea: Seoul Museum of Art; ArtSonje Center, Korea; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco; Walker Art Center; Tate Modern; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

[Text: Tina Kim Gallery]

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