Sophie’s Tree is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition by London-based artist Seeun Kim. Sidewalk Forest will feature her recent paintings, as well as several works on paper.
Seeun grew up in Bundang, a newly developed satellite city on the outskirts of Seoul. The untouched land used for farms and greenhouses, was transformed into a “perfect” modern suburbia. Everything in the city was planned – convenience stores, day care centers and standardized high-rise apartments – even trees and nature are strategically aligned and tailored for the modern lifestyle. As symbolic representations of nature, neighborhood-scaled parks and street gardens are appropriately arranged on the remnants of the land in the city. The trees are always nicely trimmed and cared for, lying in a row alongside pavements. To Seeun, this domesticated semblance of nature may be a more natural, more familiar image of a landscape than a real forest.
For Sidewalk Forest, Seeun revisited her previous series Feet of Integrity (2012), which included hundreds of works on paper depicting a small park near her apartment. She repeatedly walked along the same path every day for five months. Every three steps and she would stop for a short moment to capture the scene. During these controlled walks every day, she collected physical evidence of time and place.
Continuing this series, her new paintings are a recognition of urban nature and a documentation of place-ness rather than an ordinary landscape. Having grown up in this rapidly urbanized town tailored for today’s busy society, Seeun consciously confronts free time by repeating her walks. She stays at one place and gazes at one scene long enough to grab a hold of time and place in her own way. And then she repeats. Her devoted, repetitive walks and sincere practices are not just a contemplative appreciation of nature but an active effort to expose herself to it. This simple and honest attitude is clearly seen in her paintings.
Seeun Kim (김세은) was born in Seoul, Korea (1989) and studied painting at Ewha Women’s University, Seoul, Korea. She will receive her MA in painting from Royal College of Art, London, UK, in 2017.