SOO KIM: ARIA
6150 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Soo Kim’s photographic works employ techniques of cutting and layering in order to introduce areas of absence or disruption. For Aria, Kim produced a suite of photographs depicting the process of arranging a bouquet of red, yellow, and blue flowers. Riffing on a Bas Jan Ader film Primary Time from 1974 wherein the artist rearranged vases of flowers to be exclusively yellow, then red, then blue—Kim’s elegiac series moves beyond conceptual notions of maintenance and formal implications of color, and into themes of care, touch, comfort, and reflection.
Moved by the terminal diagnosis of a friend, this series of still lifes was sparked by the desire to memorialize, to offer a tenderness. Notably, it marks an inward turn for Kim’s practice; contrasted by previous bodies of work, which drew the artist outside of the studio and into cityscapes and nature, these photographs were shot inside the artist’s studio and are imbued with a sensitive intimacy.
The works are at once additive and extractive, while a pair of hands arrange and adjust the blooms considering the passage of time, Kim’s surgical-like process of cutting and removal interrogates building blocks of formalism through composition and color juxtapositions. Flowers are a powerful symbol of life’s sensual pleasures. Fragrant eye candy, their presence can mark a range of occasions conjuring images of weddings (celebration), funerals (mourning), or hospitals (birth, illness, and recovery). Operating like Dutch still lifes and vanitas paintings, the works in Aria reach for something permanent, offering their beauty while reminding us of the cyclical qualities of nature and the impermanence of life itself.
As a compliment to this new series of works, writer Sarah Shun-lien Bynum contributed a poetic text installed inside the exhibition.
Soo Kim’s (American, born South Korea, 1969) work has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions at The Pasadena Museum of California Art; Pomona College Museum of Art; the Getty Center, Los Angeles; The 2002 Gwangju Biennale, Korea; Weatherspoon Art Museum, North Carolina; the Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles; Art Sonje, Korea; Islip Art Museum, New York; the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego; Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, New York; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; and the Honolulu Museum of Art, among others.
Kim’s work is in public collections, including The Getty Center, The Broad Foundation, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, North Carolina Museum of Art, and The Escalette Collection of Art, Chapman University. A monograph of her work, A Week Inside Two Days, was published in 2018. Kim lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.