Monday, September 6, 2010

JuYeon Kim's "The In-Between" at the NMWA

Sometimes trips offer surprises. I spent the past 10 days
in the VA/D.C area for "Nana camp". Summer camps were over,
and school had not yet begun, so I offered to fill in the gap.
I expected it to be days of just savoring grandchildren and
family, which it was,but there were a few unexpected surprises.
A major one, was seeing the exhibit by JuYeon Kim entitled "The
In-Between" at the National Museum of Women in the Arts created
in collaboration with students from the Savannah College of Art
and Design where she was artist in residence this Spring. That’s
her photo with a student above working on figures for the
exhibit. She was trained in ceramics in Korea, but received
other degrees in the U.S. and has much more than ceramic skills
to call on.

Our older granddaughters(7 and 9)and I had planned a trip
to the NMWA. When I checked on the website, I saw the title
"The In-Between" and my IAF identity perked up. I'm always
looking for those exploring the interstitial worlds.

I went on their website and read these comments by and
about JuYeon Kim:

"When I came to the United States, I felt complete culture
shock. I was struck by the duality of thinking between
cultures, how every belief or custom has an opposite. Most
wedding dresses in the West are white because the color
symbolizes purity, but in many parts of Asia, white symbolizes
death. I wanted to explore the space between those polarities."
Seeking to bridge the gap between divergent cultural traditions,
Kim began studying the bardos the "in-between" space in Tibetan
Buddhist practice." This was an exhibit I had to see!!

Here is the link to the write up on the NMWA website:

The exhibit is primarily made up of two amazing meditation
spaces - one of 108 strips of cloth embroidered with figures
and narrative fragments hanging from plastic rods. These in
turn are suspended from three metal circles creating an 8'
diameter floor to ceiling enclosure. One enters through the
plain white exterior strips, then passes through embellished
gray to white past, present and future layers to the center.
The other is a hexagonal structure made from hardwood panels
with low to high relief gray cast figures attached inside.
Kim explains that she intended the essence of each to differ.
She sees the layered enclosure as more female and
the wood structure more male acknowledging how "men and
women think differently." (Hmm...could have some good
discussions there!) Both are filled with a mixture of
realistic and mythic images. Check out this link where Kim
is being interviewed about the exhibit. It includes in
process photos:

Unfortunately photos weren't allowed in the gallery.
But photos alone can't capture the feel of the spaces she
has created. Kim explains that she likes to create
spaces which bring one back to "the basic question of
who we are." She's done other work in caves in S. France.

The exhibit is only at NMWA until Sept. 13. I highly
recommend anyone in the area to hurry on over to experience
it. After DC, it will move down to Georgia. For those
of you who can’t make either locations, I found a few
additional images on the web. Click on the gallery section
of the following link. It gives the specifics of where and
when the exhibit will be in GA - Savannah and Atlanta.

I could have spent a long time in each of the spaces,
absorbing their energy and seeing what thoughts were
stirred up..but Nana duties called. I’m certainly going
to keep a look out for any new pieces this extraordinary
artist creates!

Speaking of extraordinary next blog will be
about the Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures outside the
NMWA. Photos were allowed there!

Journey on! Wendy

1 comment:

  1. Hi Wendy...
    I was fortunate in having the opportunity to work with JuYeon on this amazing project -- the Meditation Room. Glad you found it as inspiring as I did!