On the occasion of a new solo show in Seoul with Everyday Moonday, Heesoo Kim surveys the precariousness of our current era. Monologue doesn’t feel so much as a speech to an audience, or even to the self, but an observation of all of us at once. Kim says of the new work, “Are you wholly yourself in your life? Did I truly exist in my life? With these fundamental questions, I transform my past meager presence into better days and start a peaceful monologue between me and myself.” And yet, its far more universal than even the artist can maintain. Through a series of works classified as Questions and Answers, Kim did their own Q&A for the show.
EM: In this exhibition, the characters in your work have their eyes partially open and close. What message are you conveying through this gesture?
Heesoo Kim: It’s a very subjective point of view. I feel more comfortable closing both my eyes when I’m reflecting on myself to draw from within. With one closed eye, I wanted to tell the story of that sense of anxiety we get when we have to face and see the subject we are unable to confront.
The characters in each work have similarities from a larger framework point of view but they also have unique characteristics. Do these hair, clothing or symbolism come from your imagination or are they also inspired and appropriated by characters around you?
Most of them come from images in my head. I approach the characters differently each time but when I do borrow from characters or appearances around me, they don’t necessarily have any meanings from them.
Artists have to play multiple roles in various platforms. This allows artists to communicate directly with the public through SNS and monitor their responses immediately. What do you think are some pros and cons with these platforms?
I think it’s great that you can see a lot of things but at the same time there are more and more things you shouldn’t see as well.
It’s entertaining to flick through SNS posts but there are moments when you feel you’re being brainwashed to change your mind about something. What do you think is a good way to keep your opinion intact and not be influenced too much?
It’s unavoidable so I think it’s important to have a casual and fun attitude towards it. I think it’s important to keep things you think are good influences to you close.
You’ve started smoking again after quitting for a long time. Is anxiety the reason? What do you do when you feel anxious?
I think I’m a weak and precarious person. It might sound like an excuse to say anxiety is the reason but it’s a form of release. I worry that I can’t handle the feeling of anxiety well and worrying about it doesn’t help.
We have more opportunities now compared to the past but it seems it’s also a headache how much more we have to do to live a good life. What do you think are some of the biggest changes from the past? What do you think are necessary elements to survive in this era?
I try not to live in the past. I put all my efforts to live by this value. The current pace is too fast but I can’t live in the past so I think it’s fitting for me to stay somewhere in the middle. I think finding your own balance is the most important element.
There’s a new saying ‘Don’t let important things get lost’. I think it’s trending because we live in a time where we have a lot to endure. What important principle do you abide by when you’re working?
I think it’s important to have results in whatever form to keep your principles. Whether the outcome is good or bad, it’s important to formalize them step by step. The right method for me is to go beyond the outcomes and move forward through an experiential process. Everyone has their own right way. Art to me is like a marathon not a short sprint.