Here’s another exhibit that we checked out on a whim during last Thursday’s very rewarding art crawl, only to have it end up as one of the highlights of the evening: Blue Jean Blues by Korean contemporary artist Kim Joon. For his newest series of digital prints, Kim uses porcelain as his digital medium, putting him at the forefront of the new-media movement.
In Blue Jean Blues Kim, who is based in Seoul, Korea, explores themes of desire, memory and youth. Using porcelain, Kim fabricates compositions out of tableware, fragments of idealized nudes and icons of Western pop culture; including musical instruments, cars and guns. Showcasing his fine skill with the computer software 3D Studio Max, Kim coats the white backgrounds and surfaces of objects with pop-culture imagery. He successfully juxtaposes old and new, traditional Asian motifs and new media.
Reality and fantasy collide as tiny sculptures of blue jeans take on a life of their own and inhabit their virtual surroundings – perching on an oversized guitar in Blue Jean Blues – Jimi Hendrix and a classic car in Blue Jean Blues – Rebel without a Cause – alluding to society’s desire for material objects as well as nostalgic obsessions and attachments. The cultural symbolism associated with jeans is also the artist’s lament for the fading memory of his social resistance – expressed in earlier work through a fascination with tattoos.
My favorite part of this exhibit is a series that the artist calls “Rockers” — each of which features a cast porcelain wrist and hand (sometimes backed by a plate or bowl) in the act of “throwing metal.” Each hand is decorated with a band’s name along with member likenesses or song titles made famous by that specific band. Unbelievably cool! Any one of the Rockers series would be a fabulous addition to a collection of contemporary works.
Kim Joon’s Blue Jean Blues will be on Exhibit Through October 6th, 2012 at Sundaram Tagore Gallery, Located at 547 West 27th Street, Street Level, New York City. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.