Woomin Kim Quilts the Nomadic Side of Global Capitalism


The English translation of the Korean phrase Shi Jang is “marketplace.” The markets in Korea are the foundation for Woomin Kim’s ongoing sequence, jointly titled Shijang Undertaking. Kim mentioned in 2021: “That is where that I used to move at all times rising up. And each time I seek advice from Korea, it’s some of the first puts I am going. […] In my quilts, I describe the other varieties of traders, shops, and subject matter assemblage that you'll see in these types of open-air markets. It’s any such colourful position, with a fish marketplace subsequent to a material marketplace and all other varieties of power.” The specific visible abundance she describes will also be skilled in her splendidly dizzying debut exhibition, Woomin Kim: The Shijang Project at Susan Inglett Gallery (June 9–July 29, 2022). 

Kim is a part of a rising era of artists from Asia who earned undergraduate levels of their delivery nations after which immigrated to the USA to additional their research, and in some circumstances to stick. After receiving her MFA in 2015 on the Faculty of the Artwork Institute of Chicago, Kim relocated to New York Town, the place she found out an similar to Korea’s outside markets in Queens. 

Woomin Kim, “Shijang: Fish Marketplace II” (2021), material, 56 x 54 inches

The ten collage-like quits within the exhibition, all between 5 and 6 toes in diameter, are polychrome extravaganzas that invite audience to surprise at what will also be accomplished with material. Becoming a member of summary bureaucracy with items as explicit as dried fish and leopard-print sneakers, Kim’s consideration to element, colour, and texture leads to an enormous stock of things created via an imaginative use of unique fabrics. She possesses a nimble, droll, and acutely sharp sense of mimesis. Via incorporating subject matter that can in truth be a part of the thing she is representing — a mop or pair of trainers, for instance — she nudges the American trompe l’oeil custom of John F. Peto and William Harnett into contemporary territory. 

On the identical time, Kim’s paintings pushes again towards such slick portrayals of subject matter items as Andreas Gursky’s grocery store images, Andy Warhol’s silkscreened Coca-Cola art work, and Haim Steinbach’s minimalist presentations of commodities. Against this to Warhol’s insistence on sameness and his knocking down of revel in or Gursky’s affiliation of abundance with waste and indiscrimination, Kim presentations the nomadic facet of world capitalism, that of the small shopkeeper who runs an out of doors stall briefly arrange in a chosen a part of a town. 

Woomin Kim, “Shijang: Shoe Retailer” (2021), material, 55 x 50 inches

Kim replaces sameness with distinction. In “Shijang: Shoe Retailer” (2021), she has used other fabrics and patterns to model greater than two dozen varieties of sneakers, from boots to clogs to sandals. Even if the trend is similar, as in two unmarried boots within the decrease left quadrant, the colours are other. Despite the fact that some producers’ names are scattered during the show, there's no sense that anyone pair is extra fascinating than the others, and there are not any fashion designer shoes. The naked lightbulb placing from a black twine within the higher proper quadrant establishes the surroundings. That is about prerequisites relatively than haute couture. And but, an passion in trend and colour is provide in all places.

Kim’s enjoyment of turning a work of material into one thing as mundane because the trend inside of a boot or sneakers is clear. That is the other of Warhol’s aesthetics of boredom and fascination with mechanical copy. As her works put across, boredom isn't an possibility, however a privileged place, when survival in a brand new setting depends upon arduous paintings. Her artwork is according to the actions of chopping and stitching, of actions we frequently go along with making clothes.

Woomin Kim, “Shijang: Ribbon Retailer” (2021), material, 60 x 45 inches

Kim’s party of an alternate economic system additionally brings to gentle the choice of many immigrant cultures to take care of sure practices and traditions, reminiscent of a area’s delicacies or medications and treatments. Her resistance to the destruction of distinction that Warhol identified as some of the cornerstones that The united states used to be constructed on is admirable. Her artwork makes no overt claims to be political, however on such a lot of ranges it's, from the craft of her quilts to the crafts she represents; from her reputation of on a regular basis lifestyles as a continuing battle for financial survival to the versatility and adaptiveness that characterizes many immigrants in the United States. 

On the identical time, Kim’s use of collage and her hallucinatory juxtapositions of trend and colour reconsider sides of the Development and Ornament motion of the Seventies, and its passion in numerous types of Asian artwork. In “Shijang: Ribbon Retailer” (2021), the artist stacks ribbon spools in quite a lot of patterns. In spite of the flatness of her fabrics, she composes a shallow area that comes with cabinets and the brink of a cloth-covered desk, which spans the duvet’s backside edge. The eye paid to one thing as disposable as ribbons, and the best way Kim arranges them at the desk, underscores an overly other aesthetic disposition than the standard American emphasis on mass manufacturing. Inside of this polyphonic accumulating, no trend or colour is overshadowed through some other. Every one contributes to all the composition whilst keeping up its distinct identification. This is masterful. 

Woomin Kim, “Shijang: Out of Trade” (2021), material, 56 x 54 inches

Woomin Kim: The Shijang Undertaking continues at Susan Inglett Gallery (522 West twenty fourth Boulevard, Chelsea, New york) via July 29. The exhibition used to be arranged through the gallery.