By Soyoun Kim

Photographer, Photomedia artist

Seen Unseen

‘Belmore ITCH’ has provided an informal creative residency for non-ceramic artists to challenge and expand their art practice with ceramics. I loved the idea of this residency as I have wanted to experiment and interpret the photographic medium in ceramics as a photo-media artist.

I had been looking through image files in my digital storage and also photo negative/positive films and prints. The whole stack of images came out to the light and I was reading this visual diary which had been forgotten for a long time in my memory.

I took photographs of my family, friends, passer-bys and myself at a specific moment and place to record as a visual memory. I took photographs of sceneries to record the feeling, interacting with them. They are the proofs of ‘existence’ through time and space. In my vague memory relying on those vivid images on films and prints, I started to ask myself ‘Is this the one I saw really?’ Those people and places were seen in the past, are now invisible in the present. Now, I even try to trace my feeling of that moment.

To visualise this concept, I created bowls (dishes) as a container, eye and camera lens which could contain layers of images as the layers of memories. Through the residency, also I learnt the natural character of clay. The softness of the clay made it possible to imprint objects from my journeys and belongs to trace the memory. And it worked well with another natural medium, water, to connect the layers of images. During the process, even though it was quite obvious that images on paper or gelatin sheet would be burnt in kilns, I wanted to see the feeble evidence of existence like ashes. The final process, the floating images on the water of the bowl connects present time by reflecting myself on the water.

From sorting photograph images to making clay bowls, it was my own meditation and tracing memories. And this was the creative process which I really needed not long after finishing my cancer treatment.

This residency project ‘Seen Unseen’ has been led to be part of the ongoing project ‘Passage to Pusan’ which will be exhibited in Korean Cultural Centre, Sydney in June.

Seen Unseen
Front and Back of bowls
Front and Back of bowls

Visual time : Sydney Biennale 2016

It could be said that it is a bit late to talk about Sydney Biennale 2016 as it is heading towards the end. But what I found about this Biennale is ‘Time and Arts ‘. Art works have required for the viewer to have patience and observe the works which changed over a period of time. Otherwise we only see the part of the works, not the whole.

Charwei Tsai’s ‘Spiral Incense Mantra’ has been burning and disappearing in Mortuary Station. Lee Mingwei’s ‘Guernica in Sand’ has been swept and changed it’s appearance in Carriageworks. Taro Shinoda’s ‘Abstraction of Confusion’ has been peeled off and cracked, showing the time trace in Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Those essence of time and space were magnificently created by Korean artist Ahn Kyuchul in the exhibition ‘Invisible Land of Love’ in National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in 2015. In ‘The Pianist and the Tuner’, a pianist plays the same piece of music at same time everyday and a tuner removes one piano hammer a day. At the end of the performance, there would be a complete silence.

Time is a constant change and relative. Futurism said that if we stay in space, we go backwards. In this Biennale, Justine Wiiliams recreated the Russian futurist opera ‘Victory over the Sun’ which I missed. Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematism art work ‘Black Square’ is originated from his stage design of this opera. Through Suprematism, he explained the significance of pure feeling in creative art. I found agreement on this visual feeling in art works not requiring hundreds of words to explain. This oil painting ‘Black Square’ has been cracked as time passed and changed which Malevich didn’t intend. This engagement with time and art work made me connect visually Taro Shinoda’s ‘Abstraction of Confusion’ and Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Black Square’.

Performances art is a great medium to experiment with this concept of time. ‘In Memory of the Last Sunset’ is initiated with Neha Choksi’s installation and completed as a piece of work with the performance of Alice Cummins over the certain period of time. This combination of visual element and the transient moment of performance can be seen on Korean avant-garde artist Lee Kun-Yong’s works. He marks the performance with his physical painting. His body and mind is the brush of his painting, holding the moment of that time.

Perhaps it is too early to say about the Biennale as it has not finished yet and I need to attend to see one more performance in June. Perhaps I already talked too much.

Thought about Sydney Biennale 2016, combining Taro Shinoda’s ‘Abstraction of Confusion’ and Kazimir Malevich’s ‘Black Square’