Artist: Cindy Ji Hye Kim
Venue: Foxy Production; Helena Anrather, New York
Exhibition Title: Verses from the Apocalypse
Date: September 6 – October 13, 2019
Images courtesy of Helena Anrather and Foxy Production, New York. Photos by Charles Benton and Sebastian Bach.
Foxy Production in collaboration with Helena Anrather is pleased to present Verses from the Apocalypse, an exhibition of new work by Cindy Ji Hye Kim. Comprising paintings, sculptures, and drawings across the two galleries, the artist explores our desire for and dependence on structural limits and boundaries in image-making. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition at Foxy Production.
The paintings and wall sculptures in Verses from the Apocalypse were inspired by a series of 16th century paintings of the Tower of Babel. These depictions, particularly those by Bruegel the Elder and the Van Valckenborch Brothers, place the top of the tower at the upper limit of the picture frame, reflecting the inability to reach the heavens and the folly of our inherent desire to do so. This desire, like our desire for the world to come that the apocalypse promises, provides a teleology that sustains our stories while remaining forever unfulfilled. With the hope of a single tower and a universal language no longer available, many of the paintings in Verses from the Apocalypse foreground scaffolding and theater sets – both essentially temporary structures – literalizing the boundaries that limit artistic representation while making it possible.
Though the show’s title suggests destruction and chaos, the paintings, all in the artist’s grisaille palette, depict improbably still scenes: theater sets stand vacant, monks float in circular formation, schoolgirls hold contorted poses. This eerie stillness is echoed in a pair of circular paintings in the form of phenakistoscopes, an early animation device. If incorporated in the necessary viewing apparatus and spun, the figures depicted in these paintings would climb ever upwards, or would appear to. Instead, they stand still in a loop, going nowhere. Also included are three paintings extending the artist’s Letter series, previously confined to works on paper. Inspired by the Korean alphabet, the works in this series depict schoolgirls as vowels, holding contorted poses around wooden and metal scaffolds, which serve as consonants.
Furthering the exposure of the structures that underlie artistic practice, two large paintings are hung in the middle of the gallery, displaying stretcher bars that have been cut into spines, bones, and the ominous figures depicted on the canvases. Four wall sculptures – miniature ready-made human organs secured by a vertical length of steel rope – continue the externalization of what figurative painting conceals.
Concurrently at Helena Anrather, the artist presents new works on paper and a mural that address the erotics of creative engagement. In intimate scenes, systems of creative expression are allegorized as erotic impositions on schoolgirls. Each drawing is hung off the wall and backed with paper the artist made from her own hair, creating a presence like a human head. Echoing the circular phenakistoscope paintings in Foxy Production, the artist has muraled the walls of Helena Anrather with figures inspired by medieval Rota Fortunae.
Cindy Ji Hye Kim (Incheon, South Korea, 1990) lives and works in New York City. She received her B.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 and her M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art in 2016. Solo exhibitions include: “Verses from the Apocalypse,” Helena Anrather and Foxy Production, New York, NY; “The Sword Without, The Famine Within,” François Ghebaly, Los Angeles, CA (all 2019); “The Celibate Machine,” Interstate Projects, Brooklyn, NY; “The Sow is Mine,” Cooper Cole, Toronto, ON (both 2018); “Tick,” Helena Anrather, New York, NY (2017). Selected group exhibitions include: “Condo Shanghai,” Antenna Space, Shanghai, China; “On Pause,” Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, ON; “Tetsuo,” Bahamas Biennale, Detroit, MI (all 2019); “Mature Themes,” Foxy Production, New York, NY (2018); “Close Quarters,” 1969, New York, NY (2017); and “Party’s Over,” Topless, Rockaway, NY (2014).
*The exhibition continues at Helena Anrather, New York.*
Foxy Production, 2 East Broadway, Floor 2. Hours: Wed.- Sun. 11-6 PM. T +1 (212) 239-2758
Helena Anrather, 28 Elizabeth St., Floor 3. Hours: Wed.- Sun. 12-6 PM. T +1 (212) 587-9674
Text by Zachary Weinstein.
The artist would like to thank George Carr, Mark Hilton, and Brook Hsu.