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E ~ Exposition 'DIARIES' : Kim Kyoungae - Claire de Jong

Tentoonstelling Meerdere kunstvormen

ACHAA projects is delighted to present in it's new gallery the exposition 'DIARIES', recent work by Kim Kyoungae (SK) and Claire de Jong (SA). Kim Kyoungae’s striking organic forms are inspired by the inner workings of the body and the machinery of healing. Limited to the confines of the hospital where her mother was being treated for cancer, she took to her sketchbook as the only medium compact enough to work in such surroundings – with monumental results. Claire de Jong, on the other hand, develops sculptural forms that take cues from the likes of Barbara Hepworth to embody rare havens of peace and contentment encountered in a lifetime of wandering. Forced into a peripatetic existence at an early age by dissident parents, she became a connoisseur of cities and their psycho-geographies. These cities, their inhabitants and the impressions they left behind, are condensed in the sensual geometry of her sculptures.
Despite drawing on divergent traditions and different backgrounds, these artists share common ground in their quest for formal beauty and conceptual grace. Though intimate and quasi-autobiographical, their work is stripped of sentimentality, far removed from the kind of ego documentation that often finds critical favour. Foregoing the cult of the deskilled, both work from a finely honed sense of métier without preciousness or conceptual posturing. The viewer is granted the freedom to enter into the spaces they create – or not. But the distance invites approach.


KIM KYOUNGAE (b. 1966, Sunsan, Kumi, South Korea)

lives and works in Vadodara, India. She studied traditional Oriental art at Andong National University (Andong City, South Korea) before earning a master’s degree in museology at the M.S. University of Baroda (Vadodara, India). She has exhibited widely in India and contributed work to the Ringland benefit auction ‘The city is not a road’ in Antwerp in 2016.

Though born in rural South Korea as the second of five siblings, Kim Kyoungae was not one for staying home. An inveterate and at times impetuous traveller, her journeys encompassed a wider and wider radius until she ended up at M.S. University of Baroda in present-day Vadodara, India, where she obtained a master’s degree in museology. Already skilled in what is loosely and perhaps somewhat inaccurately referred to as ‘Korean painting’, she also drew inspiration and guidance from earlier generations of Baroda alumni.

Kim’s work can be just as loosely – and perhaps as inaccurately – seen as descending from the post-war Korean tradition of monochrome painting, the most renowned practitioner of which, at least in the West, is Lee Ufan. With this tradition her work shares a sense of restraint combined with a physical immediacy that belies initial impressions of delicacy or minimalism. Its physicality is undoubtedly enhanced by the artist’s Indian context. Though inherently resistant to narrative, Kim’s abstract forms are nonetheless born of intensely personal experiences – in this case, the artist’s sojourn in the large, anonymous hospital where her mother was undergoing surgery and chemotherapy. Of this experience the artist says:

'Everybody finds one’s own way to ignore or fight anxiety, to spend time day by day in the hospital … The act of painting became almost a prayer, erasing unwanted words such as disorder, fear, unclearness, uncertainty, despair … Embossed stencil on a white paper is like a vague feeling of hope which is fragile and ethereal. It slowly takes shape and becomes alive when red runs through the veins of the transparent line….'

CLAIRE DE JONG (b. 1962, Cape Town, South Africa)

lives and works in Antwerp, Belgium. She received her BFA from the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) before moving to London in 1991, where she lived and worked until 2010. She has exhibited in London, Los Angeles, Brussels, Mechelen and Antwerp. Her work was featured in the Alentejo Triennial (Portugal) in 2013 and in 2016 she contributed work to the Ringland benefit auction ‘The city is not a road’ in Antwerp.

The roots of Claire de Jong's work go back to the apartheid era, when poet and activist Cees de Jong and his wife were given just days by the South African government to pack up their belongings and leave the country with their two children, aged 6 and 8. They found a temporary refuge in Ghent, followed by Eindhoven before finally returning in the late 70s. It was in this period of hectic transit that De Jong’s keen eye for cities and their psycho-geographies was indelibly shaped.
Fed by glimpses of a peace rarely encountered along the way – from the stilled hush of convent windows to the living silence of the veld – De Jong’s sculptures compress, condense and tightly wrap in smooth gesso skin that sense of well-being, making it portable, visible out in the world, something you can see, touch. You can also see yourself in the sculptures’ mirrored eyes, which protrude at odd angles or are embedded in their snowy skin, always observing. Each is in some way inspired by a place or memories of places, persons, passing encounters.
Their playful forms and airy mode of address belie the fundamental locus of trauma out of which these works emerge. They seem to spring from their socles, bounce from their bases. One work (Antwerp 2060, 2013) even has a handle – shades of Anthony Caro are quickly dispersed by a direct appeal: ‘Take me with you!’ Another group, originally conceived for display inside a Citroën 2CV (Kusje, 2017), sits precariously on mid-century modernist chairs, still playing at being passengers in an automobile. Although the sculptures’ streamlined forms echo, however distantly, the monumental modernist forms of artists like Barbara Hepworth or Henry Moore – De Jong drew inspiration from his maquettes – their material lightness seems on the verge of taking flight rather than establishing a permanent sense of place. As if they might take it in mind to follow you about. We may be done with the lieux de mémoire, but the lieux de mémoire are not yet done with us.

Bron: UiTinVlaanderen.be


Waar ACHAA projects Gallery
Prins Boudewijnlaan 324
2610 Wilrijk (Antwerpen)

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Contact irene@achaaprojects.com