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Jihee Kim: The Typhoon Breaks Tonight

Jihee Kim

SongEun Art and Cultural Foundation, Seoul

04/28/17 - 06/01/17


Description

Artist Statement
Landing at the Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan on a hot summer day in July, I was hit with a wave of sultry damp air that swirled past my face. News stations were blasting out repeated warnings over a large storm that was to hit Taiwan that night. Indeed the weather was far from calm. A fear I had known like no other was descending upon me, having come face to face with fast gushing wind and clouds, obscurely colored tumultuous river, heavy and viscid air, and hard pouring rain drilling into the ground.

Pass did those uncertain hours of daytime, and night fell following sunset. So starkly different is night from day, yet why do we choose to bind them together and call them “day”? The storm’s night was entirely different from its day, rain pouring down in volumes so large you can't help but wonder from where all those raindrops and wind are coming. The whirling wind of the dark abyss seemed to be swallowing all things in its path and the bizarre sight unfolding in front of me only added to my unfounded fears. The beating sounds of the gushing wind and the smashing raindrops against the thin rattling windows brought on an extreme kind of fear that would all of a sudden dissipate into an odd sense of serenity.

Should day be the cold hours of reason, then night are those creeping hours at the bottom depths of darkness, those passing moments of heated imaginations. There I was in the eye of the storm. Fury roared outside the windows but my room and my night were entirely in serene darkness. That night, starting off from pieces fished out from my conscious and unconscious mind I explored the boundless abyss called memory, much like a Proustian Madeleine moment, and came face to face with an array of past moments. I thus savored my night, exploring those once forgotten memories and bringing to light pieces that had long faded pale. The night of memories brought on by the storm did not conclude simply as a momentous event, but lead the way to explore and analyze the minute and detailed links between one memory to the next, as not only as a way of becoming acquainted with myself as a human being and experiencing a new kind of euphoria, but also serving as a starting point of expressing them as drawings. The fragments of my memory are of relationships that are dependent on familiarity, contrast, or arbitrary and shallow unions. And given that those memories drawn up form a kind of relationship with each other, their contents are immensely diverse and specific, being a mystic amalgamation of both pride and modesty.

#1. The typhoon breaks tonight.
That night, the train of memories became the spark that ignited a “typhoon of the night” event that continued on as a serial process of memories that floated to the surface like fish caught in a net. Long forgotten was the typhoon, the initial point and head of the chain, and as one memory lead into another all that stood out in my memory were such things as figures, events, smell, sound, conversations, sent and received texts, and scenes from a book or movie. It is in this manner that we endlessly mistake coincidence for truth, results for causes, means for an end, our body and mind for ourselves, and ourselves for something of the immortal. The typhoon breaks tonight #1 and #2 series set out an animation format that gives motion to my drawings, portraying a singular memory and event, and a particular moment grasped from the serial process of memories.

#2. A Story about the Period
Having to read a book in a foreign language was the first moment when text began to read as images – a book was not a book but a lump of letters, being received as a single image. In that moment, text did not constitute a book and letters were no longer letters, and from within that image an element of usually meager presence was suddenly perceived as a definite large circular form: the period. When the inconspicuous period emerges as a complete, whole entity and overshadows the text, all things became possible. The period appeared as a changed form, sliding across the text as a bleeding period.

#3. Drawings Swimming at Dawn
This series used the pages of books – donated through the university and regional libraries of London – as the base surface. Starting off from print (words), I chained together my experiences/events into a sort of serial drawing process that weaves the memory pieces like a net, this being my pastime and amusement. For example, Urban Society departed from the word ”Urban Society” chosen from the selected page of the book used in the work, following the thought process as shown below:

Urban Society ➞ The inability to understand the meaning of loneliness. – Does it resemble the feeling of ‘boredom’? ➞ The image of an old couple blowing each other’s frozen hands warm ➞ A line from a movie of a character saying he hopes to die one day after his beloved does ➞ The character throwing himself into the cold sea in order to save his beloved

My train of thought stopped at the point where I found most intriguing and attractive, that being “The character throwing himself into the cold sea in order to save his beloved,” and expressed this as a drawing on the pages of the very book from where I extracted the words “Urban Society.” Memories and events entombed in my conscious and unconscious were uncovered in this manner, aiding the discovery process by drawing the sentences. The memories called forth by one sentence meet the memory of my present thus making the next memory, which then in turn transforms itself into a new and unexpected memory that consequently leads to the drawing moment.

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