Kim Beom: Random Life

Singapore Tyler Print Institute 
41 Robertson Quay, Singapore 
2017.05.06  - 06.17 “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” (Mark 8:24)

STPI is proud to present Random Life, the first-ever solo exhibition in Singapore by widely respected Korean multi-disciplinary artist Kim Beom. A highly sought-after name within the international art community, Kim is fast becoming one of the most important figures of his generation and Korean art.
In a strikingly rare and singular occasion, Kim steps out of his usual solitary working process to create Random Life in collaboration with the STPI team of printers and papermakers. The exhibition confronts viewers with a world of visual riddles and illusions created in the artist’s characteristically comic and subversive style.
For Kim, playful imagery is a tool with which he compels the audience away from taking things at face value, and instead, to being more attentive and critical in observing the world around them.
The new series of Paper Wrapped sculptures is left deliberately ambiguous; everyday products are camouflaged under paper pulp, leaving only their silhouettes as clues for interpretation. Denied of key visual cues, ordinary and recognizable items such as chocolate bars, cup noodles and stain removers morph into mysterious, abstract sculptures.
This same concept also underlies the Untitled series of lithographs, where a composition of geometric silhouettes and mirror writing plunges monochromatic abstract forms into absurd contexts, ranging from the front toe of a lion standing on a miniature axe that was lost by a tourist from Hawaii, to a bud who receives a package and tries to read the name of the sender. The same witty absurdity carries on to the cyanotype and Vandyke prints, where he presents the architecture blueprint of an imaginary residential watchtower complex, whose sole purpose is for security guards to watch over one another.
“There is an interesting contrast between the humourous tone and theme of the show, and (Kim Beom’s) serious, methodical approach towards the creation of the works,” STPI Chief Printer Eitaro Ogawa points out, “His technical choices are precise to the millimetre. This highly detail-oriented manner of working means that the Creative Workshop team had to make many adjustments to meet his very specific vision.”
Beguiling and considered, Random Life forms one of STPI’s 15th year highlights, ushering visitors into an unknown world rigged with false familiarity, where “what you see is not what you see”.

Residential Watchtower Complex for Security Guards (detail)
2016, Kim Beom, Cyanotype on Saunders 638g paper, 126 x 81 cm

Paper Wrapped (Stain Remover) (detail)
2016, Kim Beom, Objects wrapped with pigmented paper pulp on wooden base, 28 x 31 x 22.5 cm
Untitled (Tongue of a Camel Tasting Rock Salt at a Construction Spot in Egypt) (detail)
2016, Kim Beom, Lithography on Fujimori paper, 85 x 60.5 x 4.5 cm
From 1994 to the present, Seoul based Korean artist Kim Beom has been exploring a world in which the relationship between the appearance of the “seen” and its true nature is questioned. There is no question that his workshop experience at STPI was an exciting challenge for him.

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