Soo Hyeon Kim
Unseen Time, Conversations in the Middle
Unseen Time, Conversation in the Middle is an ecosystem in which the artist layers time in the form of wax. This work takes place in three parts. The first is when the artist performs the feeding. The second is the moment of formation underneath the mesh panel. Lastly, is where the wax has fallen, accumulated, and transformed.
In nature, everything happens all at once. A flower blooms, a tree takes root, and stalagmites form. All this is difficult to witness from beginning to end, because the time that exists in nature is slower compared to the time we live in. Micro events like these require multiple witnesses in multiple sites, which is impossibility.
Through my work, micro events are observable through installation and durational performance. The way the work is built allows for all processes to be seen. This includes witnessing, from time to time, the artist pouring wax pellets over the course of hours, days, weeks and months. It allows for the viewer to bear witness to present time, in manageable units of seconds that are embodied in each drop of liquid wax.
The artist likens the ritual of pouring wax pellets akin to feeding a plant or an organism. How often feeding takes place affects the structure, diameter and form of the mounds. In Unseen Time, Conversation in the Middle, feeding takes place every 30 minutes. The audience may witness this.
School of Arts & Humanities
MA Painting, 2018
I have a deep interest to experiment with the possibilities of paraffin wax. It has a remarkable ability to melt congruently and solidify at a certain temperatures, and I have learned to use that to my advantage. The versatility of the material is that both solid and liquid changes are immediately observable, and its viscosity when it is solidifying is almost like time slowing down.
Over the past couple of years I have learnt how to manipulate the wax such that it can solidify into forms that seem to defy gravity. It is this stillness of time that makes this material so appealing to me. It can allude to a hard or rough surface, a sensual and smooth surface, and a porous or dense surface, always sloping around the edges.
When I manipulate the material, the endpoint is constantly in flux. What has solidified is a consequence of time that has accumulated according to what I require from it. I am interested in the subject lost time, in the sense that some events are impossible to witness from beginning to end. Examples of these are:
Standing at the foot of a mountain and witnessing an avalanche.
Living in a cave through wet and dry seasons.
Witnessing the changing tides of the sea at night.
And so on and so forth.
As such, the ecosystems that I build become microcosms of major events like these, coupled with the ability to speed things up, slow things down, or even put a pause, allows my work to be immersive and intimate for my viewer.
- BFA Fine Art, University of Michigan, 2011
- 'Living Room', Safe House, London, UK; 'Thumbnails', Hockney Gallery, London, UK; 'Whipped Up', Kunstraum, London, UK; Sunny Art Prize 2017, Sunny Art Centre, London, UK; 'WIP WIP WIP', Sackler Building, London, UK; 'Medium Rare', Argus Building, Michigan, US
- Shortlisted for Sunny Art Prize 2017, Sunny Art Centre
- Sunny Art Prize 2017, Sunny Art Centre, London, UK; A Female Art Contribution Zine, 'The Landing Strip', Michigan, US