• text
  • pictures
  • Joeun Kim ‘Aatchim’
Guadalajara, Mexico
Old Habit Theater
3 Feb 2024 - 13 Apr 2024
Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.
Joeun Kim 'Aatchim', Old Habit Theater, installation view.

Travesía Cuatro GDL, Guadalajara, MX. 2024.

We know that vision has historically been the privileged human sense. From Renaissance perspective to contemporary hyper-visibility, it seems to be a general agreement on the idea of the visible as some kind of stablished knowledge —on the assumption of it as a plausible portrait of the [Western] world. The fire of gaze burns perception into that which hides after our desire of recognition; there is always a need of understanding behind representation. In this sense, discourse and image-making share familiar mechanisms: both of them serve us to navigate our inner and outer realities, to place ourselves in a physical, but also emotional space we can relate to. But it is not that simple. An image is not just an image, just as words are not just words. This becomes particularly evident when we are faced with multilayered compositions that seem to threaten our linear visuality —and in doing so, our absolute sense of history and memory. 

The drawings of Joeun Kim Aatchim [South Corea, 1989] play with characters that have been extracted from lived old tales. A blurred combination of familiar and imaginary memories generates ambiguous scenes in which the very idea of memory is questioned. These sketch-looking pieces speak of questions that perhaps could not be answered at the time, but are finding ways to make sense now. Some elements are repeated within the same work and among several of them, making visible the continuous nature of any searching process. Here, the reminiscence of the past feels elusive; something is lacking. Fantasy fulfills the gaps of that which was —and still is— impossible to keep together. Re-framing memory can be understood as a political practice that focuses on those small details, sometimes missed, of a particular experience. But it is not only a matter of being able to tell one’s own story. Although re-signifying a personal narrative can lead us to redefine our position in the present, working somewhere between its firmness and its looseness gives us the opportunity to choose what we want to believe, or to acknowledge what we have yet to mourn. 

Old Habit Theater gives name to an on-going series of drawings that collect moments from Kim’s childhood in South Korea, turned into delicate charms made of ink, charcoal, silk, paper, mineral pigments and ornamental elements that seem to carry a secret biography themselves. Her work restates Korean silk painting tradition, through a methodology that entangles form and meaning, technique and storytelling. Aligned with her writing practice, in which language is treated as a malleable material, these drawings become means to explore those fragmentary spaces that the absence of factual knowledge about a specific situation leaves in us. The idea of draft is central in her work: each drawing contains previous versions of itself, generating, in the artist’s words, a theater where every character can rehearsal over and over again, unapologetically. The accumulation of traces reveals some kind of structure, but only to prove its fragility. Motion takes control, and lines bifurcate through different holding gestures that seem to be healing a domestic broken story. These expressions are not accidental: some figures hold what others cannot, distributing care in order to overcome old feelings of regret. They are also swapping roles throughout the course of this story. Here, every figure, as every layer of each drawing, contains a multiplicity of visions and memoirs that now are melting —borders erased.  

In 2016, Kim wrote: 

My inability to finish writing,  

my extraordinary ability to continue writing 

It is the impossibility of reaching a finished form that keeps every work in process. And it is the continuity inherent in every process that makes things always different. In this sense, neither images nor language can be thought of stable mediums, although they have historically been considered truth-keepers. Beyond any visual paradigm, the powers of imagination show us that perception, like memory, can be traced only up to some extent. Perhaps that is why truth is always partial, or something we are still searching for. And why writing, or drawing, can also become something else.

–Lucía Millet