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Gallery Exhibitions

Kim Guline: Structure as Depth and Width

Kim Guline: Structure as Depth and Width
By Oh Kwang-Su


It would be more difficult to feel the subtle moves in the inner world of a work of art if there wasn’t any outer reference. Guiline Kim’s paintings must belong to those works that demand an effort, that is to say an active part from the spectator. At first sight, his works have not undergone an important change for the last score of years. Some people, though, read his new conception of colours as a notable transformation ; but that would be granting too much importance to colour which is actually nothing but the vehicle of Kim’s inner world. What is then the real balance of the last few years, in Kim’s work?


Thanks to a new-awakening of his consciousness of the surface, his works of the 70s, the period of which have been quite short, have been concepted on this famous binomial: painting doesn’t care any longer for represented space, it takes the empty surface on the canvas as its subject. Though talking about the relation object-painting is no longer up to date, his works of the 70s deserve our attention. They reveal their originality by grasping the four-angled-frame not as a traditional or conceptual space but as an absolute space. As it took a long time to discover that painting needed a delimited surface, getting free from that choked surface and turning to the new space have asked as many efforts on which lay Kim’s merit.


On the contrary of those 70s, the works of the 80s are made up of various attempts, all aiming to come back to this starting point from which he wanted to get away at any price. He tries to rehabilitate painting once denied. Away from painting then back to it, again, the flow of his relexion somehow moves into a circular sketching. In the sketching of its evolution, Kim’s surface is different from that of Malevich or even from that of Rauschenberg, particularly in its serials called Black and white. Kim’s surface doesn’t lie in a world overwhelmed with heavy silence or meaningless death. On the contrary, it breathes and wants to be alive : it goes toward an open and full world, not to closed up and empty one. It is just as interesting to note that this constantly open and full world seems to be closed and empty, in its plastic shapes. Would that duality come from Kim’s  conception?


This duality naturally brings us back to Yin and Yang, the principle generative of extreme-oriental philosophy : it explains the creation of the world as an unceasing recurrence of the Yin and the Yang. That philosophy allows us to consider Kim’s painting as a living unit. While keeping its significant, ie its pastic shape it keeps searching its meaning that would be open and breathing. In a serial of the 80s, we notice, the widened choice of different colours, already mentioned above, on one hand, and the appearance of quadrilaterals including smaller quadrilaterals which themselves also include smaller ones and so on. This construction not only sets off the quadrangulated type of the surface but also balances an inside logic based on the evenness and differences of those quadrilaterals of various sizes. The whole depends on each part and the parts on their side, determine the making of the whole. This is why the generating and organic side of Kim’s work must be insisted upon.


The smaller quadrilaterals are filled with dots the condensation and decomposition of which play an essential part in intensifying the surface. They are no longer a free repetition of homogenous ones but on the contrary they work as living accents, decisive instants, that grant canvas, a tense life and a total freedom. In the recent works, the painter uses a greater number of colours, specially pure colours. Kim’s paintings thus acquire an exceptional dimension. The painter setting himself free from his hidden space sets into a telling and breathing space. His colours as we suggested it, are not material. In his work, the awakening of the consciousness of the surface finds its privileged field, not in a usual, integral painting, but in the relation to each coloured particle on the painting. Colour looses its statute of material and acquires that of research of a new consciousness awakening. Our effort must turn to such a conception of Kim’s painting in order to understand its evolution.