Kajin Kim: Inhabiting the Interface
October 15 through November 11, 2022
By MARIA OWEN, November 2022
In Kajin Kim’s first solo exhibition in New York, Inhabiting the Interface at Swivel Gallery, the concept of an “interface” is positioned as a poetic meeting point, a venue for the union of elements both material and ephemeral. Glistening silicon is sewn into chalky drywall, shaped from behind by electric light. Heat-sculpted resin mediates spotlights into bubbling, organic penumbrae. Here, the synthetic, ephemeral, and temporal collide with disconcerting ease; intangible experiences are realized while physicality is abstracted. Kim’s installation is complex, mesmerizing and alien. It allows for connections otherwise missed.
This “interface” is a real space rooted in the physical realm, a meeting point for complementary and paradoxical elements alike. In Mediated Touch, silicon membranes are sewn over openings in the rippling drywall, trapping reflections and shadows in bodies like biomes or galaxies. Beams of light pass with ease where the dense, human form cannot. Like the first time––perhaps as a child––we try to cover the mouth of a flashlight with our palm and realize that the light can and does actually move through us, we are reminded of our permeability. Things are not as solid and separate as they may appear.
At first glance Shared Connection appears to be a constellation of grommets buried in the wall, but upon closer investigation, we are invited to look through the microscopes concealed in these openings. Resting behind the lenses are pigmented, natural forms. Anonymous, fleshy terrain is flooded with glistening liquid, flushed with bright pinks and oranges and submarine greens and blues. We can only get so close, discover only so much. Yet while our access is limited, something otherwise hidden behind an opaque layer of drywall is revealed.
Kim’s precise timing and skill works in service of these explorations: the In-Between series is cast from Thermoform acrylic, each floating piece a unique iteration of distinct circumstances, frozen in an eternal gesture. Habitable Dialogue’s imperfect planes are manipulated by the intensity of a blowtorch, bubbling and warping in organic gestures. In Swivel’s presentation, the brittle resin is flooded with glowing, spectral light, the wall behind serving as a stage for dialogue between elements. Every aspect of the installation relies on a multi-media dynamic, each component vital to its articulation.
These are not easy concepts; Kim is examining complicated experiences in ever-changing contexts of geography, media, and technology. Yet the interactions explored in Inhabiting the Interface do not demand exhaustive study or interpretation to be understood. Themes of relationship and opportunity permeate the experience. We are reminded of the desire to connect, as well as our inherent capacity to get in our own way. Kim’s series provides an opportunity to think deeply, but perhaps more naturally invites us to simply arrive, experience, and react. WM
Maria Owen is the associate director of MARCH, a public benefit corporation and gallery located in New York City. Owen holds a BFA in History of Art from Pratt Institute and a MSC in Psychology of Art, Neuroaesthetics, and Creativity from Goldsmiths University of London. Before joining the MARCH team, she worked with Institute 193, an arts and culture nonprofit based in Lexington, Kentucky and New York, New York.
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