Kim Sung Yoon (b. 1985) delves into the issue of transitional discontinuation in his unique practice and the artistic concerns of a painter living in the contemporary world. His recent works focus on the still life painting genre as it allows the artist to connect emotionally on things that are pushed aside and no longer part of the mainstream. In a way, this is also the case for an outdated genre in today’s contemporary art world dominated by conceptual art. Recent series focus on diverse subjects such as a 19th century homage to John Singer Sargent depicting contemporary figures in older Olympic sport contests or depictions of his favorite artists as zombies in hypothetical situations. Each a bold and refreshing output via appropriation, collaboration and recontexualization.
In a continuation of his practice utilizing art historical archives as the foundation of his creative pursuits, his most recent works reinterpret the meaning of the flower still life genre in a contemporary context. Certain works reproduce Édouard Manet’s flower still life paintings made by the artist during his later bedridden years. By modulating the overall tonality using only black and white, Kim adds solemnity in an homage to Manet’s late works while simultaneously capturing the temporal space between life and death. Other are influenced by the lavish and extravagant styles of the 17th century Dutch masters. In these works, Kim re-arranges flowers from different seasons via images culled from the internet (what he terms “Google arrangements”) and digitally placing them into ceramic vases crafted by his artist colleagues adding another contemporary element to the genre. In other works, the artist fills the frame with the colors of corporate logos from the glass food containers that were used as props to hold the flowers as used by his family. By inverting the placement of the logos, the symbolic face of capitalism, at the bottom center of the frame the artist is willing to invert traditional values and add a sense of kitschiness to the work while at the same time celebrating aspects of ordinary life.