In Gallery II, Goldfinch is pleased to present Doo Jip Salim, a solo exhibition of works by Korean artist Woomin Kim. The four large textile collages on view depict images of Kim’s memory of Korea, where she is from, along with scenes of the Queens, NY landscape where she currently resides.
“Doo Jip Salim means living in two houses,” says Woomin Kim. “Conventionally the term is used to describe a married person’s way of living who has a secret affair, and I think it could be a humorous way to describe my status of being in two places, setting my heart both in Korea and the US, constantly longing for one place when I’m in another place.”
“I make quilts to create a visual description of the two places I call home, Seoul and Queens,” Kim explains. “The fabrics I use are from my own clothing, or donated from friends, or collected or bought during my annual visit to Korea or from local Queens fabric stores. Because I use textiles with various patterns and textures, my quilts have an abstract quality even though the shapes and color palette are based on reality.” There are no figures in the scenarios she quilts, Kim notes, in order to make the objects depicted the active protagonists of her scenes.
In describing a marketplace in Korea, a table at her family’s annual ancestral ritual, or a festival celebrating the birth day of the Buddha, Kim shares what her memories of these places and events feel like to her: “warm, vibrant and energetic.” At the same time, these quilted pieces actively resist Western narratives of Kim’s home country and of Asia as a whole that are either highly romanticized or xenophobic in nature.
Paralleling her depictions of life in Korea, Kim also quilts subjects that are local to her current home in Queens: a lighting store in Flushing and laundry vent pipes outside a building in Jackson Heights. “By creating ping-pong conversations between where I am from and where I live now, I create a narrative of different places and of the immigrant experience that feels more accurate and personal to me than the existing ones, which are often flattened and homogenized.”
Kim’s practice typically incorporates found objects or materials. As she recently explained in an interview with Boston Voyager, “Every material is active and has rich character. For me, observing their surfaces, listening to what they offer, and imagining their stories are a beginning point of making art. I try to reveal the gap between how I perceive objects linguistically or conceptually and what they really are, between my subjective understanding and the truth of the material.”
Woomin Kim is a Korean artist currently based in Queens, NY. Through her textile and sculptural projects, she examines the pre-existing narratives of urban landscapes and immigrant experience and offers her own versions that feel more personal and accurate to herself.
Kim has participated in exhibitions and residencies at the Queens Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Art Omi. She has received fellowships and awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Noguchi Museum and Bronx Museum. Her works have been featured in The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Juxtapoz and BOMB Magazine. Kim received a B.F.A from Seoul National University and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.