The Korea Herald


Artist Aatchim turns limited vision into art with silk

By Park Yuna

Published : June 30, 2024 - 17:00

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An installation view of the solo exhibition of Joeun Kim Aatchim, An installation view of the solo exhibition of Joeun Kim Aatchim, "Minimally Invasive," at Gladstone Gallery (Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery)

Gladstone Gallery in Seoul is currently showing the first solo exhibition of emerging Korean artist Kim Jo-eun, who goes by Aatchim as her pseudonym. Aatchim explores silk as her artistic medium, often depicting compassionate scenes in which the subjects provide comfort to others with warm gestures or embraces.

Aatchim channels her congenital eye condition – intermittent strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned -- into her artistic drive. Her visual experiences transform into deconstructing personal memories microscopically and prismatically with different vantage points. That way, she examines moments of pain, distilling cinematic sequences into complex images.

Although her eye condition has limited her stereoscopic vision, she harnessed this quirk in perception to develop representations of intimate memories that seem like illusions. The exhibition title of “Minimally Invasive” refers to the delicacy of a surgical procedure that aims to minimize bodily harm, according to the gallery.

"Smiley Viskovitz — My Fish, My Blood-Parrot (-2020)" by Joeun Kim Aatchim (Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery)

The transparency of silk makes her drawings look fragile and delicate, as though the subjects of the paintings are from a dream. She paints with watercolor and pastel pencils as well as walnut ink and some white gold leaf.

She named her silk-painting approach “Transparentism,” involving a rigorous daily practice of authentically capturing the details of her memories in translucent scenes.

"Minimally Invasive" shows some 14 works, including a 7-centimeter-tall bronze and walnut wood sculpture, “Before the Savior (Kneeled Nutcracker).”

“Here, ‘Minimally Invasive’ becomes a philosophy of life by those ironic who prefer minimal presence while wishing to become subjects of pierce memories, see the tiniest flowers rather than the forest, cherish small gestures over grandiose action, and mess up the melodies for chasing after every little missing lyric,” she said about her exhibition.

Born in South Korea, Kim now lives and works in Brooklyn. The exhibition runs through Aug. 3 at Gladstone Gallery in southern Seoul.