Work Info:

Date: 16 1월 2013

Categories: 2011 exhibition

A Man of Construction, Who Is Deconstructing and Constructing


Where and how does the momentum come, which enables the work to exist? The momentum can be the origin of pure imagination, the result of acute recognition of reality, the search for repressed desire and consciousness, or sympathy of mass culture and ordinariness. It can come from a private experience, while the ideal such as ideology or good cause can be its motive.


In case of Kim Hyo Sook, the momentum looks to begin from a private experience. When the artist was a child, their family moved frequently. The frequent movement prevented the artist from making friends, which might make her internalize reflective disposition of conversing with herself. Besides, the movement gave the artist deep impression on the construction site. There is no space for the construction site in the recognition of ordinary people who come and go between house and house, between building and building, and between city and city. The characteristic of the artist’s work can be seen in that such shortage of space builds a nest in the artist’s consciousness. The construction site is not a final point or the place where the complete form casts anchor, but it is the process and the place that the transition period shoots. The place where an old house is broken down and a new house is built, the place where the past and the present are crossed, the place where a new perspective pushes an old perspective out implies an unstable or arbitrary place which outshines the concept of the place. Seen from a far viewpoint, it is like a toy or a play ground, while seen from a near viewpoint, it’s like a mini-version of the world where people live.


The artist sees the world in the transitional place and in the insecure place. The mere construction site becomes to get the metaphor of life or a symbol by the artist’s imagination as a medium. That is, to the artist, life is a transitional place and insecure place like a construction site. It is not a place where a decisive form can cast anchor. The prospect of the world is fragmented like a messy construction site, and the prospect of her recognition is also fragmented. The center which can make people see the world in the unified prospect does not exist any longer. There are only fragmented pieces floating in the state of non-gravitation (unrealistic reality), and likewise, there are only bits of fragmented recognition. Floating as such, the pieces of the world and the bits of recognition meet by slightly brushing each other only for a short time.


Therefore, the unstable place of a construction site is the same unstable place of life and the place of recognition. The artist substitutes her self-consciousness by summoning a construction site into her recognition. The substituted place is the momentum of unstable life and repressed momentum of existence is piled up like hetero pia. Michel Foucault views hetero pia as a potential momentum of revolution where non-mainstream ideology sprouts. The artist seems to view the world as the collection of fragmented pieces rather than the complete whole. Is it an exaggeration or a leap if I see accidental and impudent collection of fragmented pieces as the metaphor of the phenomenon or sign that non-mainstream (unstable) ideology sprouts?


The artist sees the house, construction, city, and the feature of the world where people live, in the construction site. The house is the smallest unit to comprise the world. The house symbolizes identity beyond a simple structure. Also the symbol has a double meaning. That is, the house is familiar to the subject but at the same time strange to others. This strangeness defines the foundation of the house as curiosity, desire and fear to others. The defined house (the identity of the house) is beyond the borderline of the relationship between the subject and others, and it embraces the relationship between the subject and another subject (the other discovered in the subject’s inner side). Therefore, “I” (the house projecting my identity) is familiar and at the same time strange (self-isolation). The duality of the house is extended to the duality of existence. Also, the house is a structure built by walls, and the square room has a double meaning. That is, the room protects me from the world and at the same time it isolates and severs me from the world. Each room, in a word, is an island isolated from the world (isolated island). However, human beings are social animals, so they have to restore the network of the relationship, by knocking down the rooms (walls). Here, there is self-contradiction and there is conflict with the world (others).


As shown in the artist’s paintings, the dreary scene of the construction site where impudent pieces of constructed walls and collapsed walls coexist together seems to talk about the irony of existence and its antinomy where the desire of the subject who wants to step back from the world and the anxiety that the subject might fall behind and might be thrown out from the network of the relationship with others (the world) in a pinch coexist together.


The house was told to symbolize the identity. The identity is ironical and contradictory. The house of the artist does not have a complete form but is all collapsing, deconstructing as if it were faced with tornado, and the impudent pieces of deconstructed construction are floating on the non-gravitation-like screen (a metaphor of unrealistic reality). The collapsed house and the fragmented identity are matched together with the expression of analogical likeness as a medium. Even though there is a difference of degree, a modern man usually suffers from the confusion of identity and the sign of loss. Materialistic wealth going ahead, mental panic falling behind without catching up with materialistic wealth, indolence and emptiness, psychological sign of anomi are internalized inside a modern man. The painting of the artist gets sympathy and persuasive power, by passing over the borderline of private experience and by expanding private experience to the universal experience of a modern man.


Also, the painting of the artist looks like a historic and periodic metaphor of the Korean modern history which has suffered from hurried modernization: collapse of Wawoo Apartments, collapse of Sampung Department Store, collapse of Sungsu Bridge, large and small exploding accidents of city gas, disastrous Yongsan accident, and recently Cheonan Warship situation, Yeonpyungdo emergency, etc. In the painting, even roads get bent like a stick of taffy and the amphitheater is pouring down from the sky. Also is unrealistic a modern man who lives with incomprehensible reality, surrealist-like reality, virtual reality-like reality and occasionally befogged reality like a maze. Bits of such unrealistic reality are organically joined together and creates a kind of a dreary scene on a screen like a giant beast. Also, unreality is emphasized with achromatic gray color, and in particular, unreality is reinforced with an unnamed subject who pulls his hat over his face enough to cover the whole face. A series of paintings, in a word, looks like a requiem paying tribute to the Age where people lose color, that is, lose identity and it looks like a homage paying tribute to the unanimous subjects, that is, faceless people.


In the paintings of the artist, the house symbolizes the identity of an individual, and the relationship between house and house stands for that of the subject and others, I said. However, if the house is collapsed or is under construction as in the construction site, the identity cannot but be unstable and the relationship with others can not help being incomplete. On the coordinate of the Age where people lose identity, faceless unanimous subject are wandering. In one way, those people who look like strangers feeling unfamiliarity to the world are a self-portrait of the artist herself and also portraits of all of us.


In the painting, unanimous subjects derive a meaningful narrative, and in particular, the narrative gets the existential meaning in “The Final Communication” and social meaning in “the Reproduced Stage 1″ So called, one day the artist witnessed the dead homeless lying as if he slept. The shock slept in her mind for a long time, and when she met Mrs Dalloway, all of a sudden the shock revived. In the novel, Virginia Woolf views suicide as a challenge and a method of communication. Then, does the artist view the death of the homeless as suicide? Also, does the suicide have some meaning? Perhaps it might bear testimony of the death coexisting beside the life indifferently. Is it social responsibility?


Also, the artist selects the photograph taking the scene of reproducing bribery charges as the motive in “The Reproduced Stage 1.” In the painting where makes a contrast between the standpoint to prove a charge and the standpoint to protect it, the artist sees the table of the place where the case happened as a kind of stage. Also, by borrowing the figure of a man who suggests a kind of dance, the artist produces the scene looking funny. (Is it the artist’s comment on the case?) Here, the artist passes over the stage to see the construction site as the expression of the confusion or loss of identity, and over the step of private experience, over the level of existential utterance, and extend its meaning to social level. Comparing with other paintings relatively, it gets concreteness and reality, and it foretells how the artist paintings in the future will be developed.


The artist seems to recognize the city as living organism. Also, such recognition leads to the urban ecology. In particular, deconstructing image of the city annuls the existing map of recognition and suggests the longing for recognition mapping in her own way. If possible, the subject drawn in the painting who wants to reconstruct the world exemplifies some man of construction.


Kho, Chung-Hwan (Art Critic)


Artist Profile



2009 Graduated from Department of Paintings, Graduate School of Arts at Yong In University

2004 Graduated from Department of Paintings, College of Arts at Yong In University


Solo Exhibition

2008 ‘The 1st My Floating City’, Young Art Gallery, Seoul


Group Exhibitions

2010 Exhibition ‘Preview’, OCI Museum of Art, Seoul

2010 ‘Joong Ang Fine Arts Prize’, Hangaram Art Museum of Seoul Arts Center, Seoul

2010 ‘SongEun Fine Arts Prize’, Insa Art Space (IAS) of the Arts Council Korea, Seoul

2009 ‘Imaginative Power Plant’, Hyundai Art Center, Ulsan

2009 ‘Small Wonders’, INSA Gallery, Seoul

2009 ’2009 Preview and Review Exhibition’ Alternative Space Team Preview, Seoul

2009 ‘Rowing by 6 people’, Shinhan PB Jamsil Center

2009 ‘The City’, Happy Gallery, Seoul

2008 ‘Dream Project’, Gallery Godo, Seoul

2008 ‘Thanks for giving’, Bong Art Gallery, Seoul

2008 ‘A Comma (,)”, JS Art Gallery, Paju

2007 ‘All Kinds Of’, Shinsaegae Culture Hall, Yong In

2005 ‘Sam-Cheong Art Festival’, Gallery Doll, Seoul

2005 ‘Seok Su Market Project’, Stone & Water Gallery, Anyang

2004 ‘Gwang Ju Biennale, Club 5 Performance’, Gwang Ju Biennale, Gwang Ju

2004 ‘Jong Jong Preservation District’, Museum of Yong In University, Yong In

2004 ‘A Stocker Having an Affair’, Art Space HUE, Seoul



2010 Songam Foundation ‘Young Artist Competition’

2010 The 32th Joongang Fine Arts Prize

2010 The 10th Songeun Fine Arts Prize





46-15 Susong-dong Jongno-gu
Seoul, Korea
T: 02-734-0440~1
F: 02-734-0439
Opening Hours : 10:00 am ~ 6:00 pm
(*Monday closed)
Admission : free



January 16, 13