Kibong Rhee, “There is No Place”

 Tina Kim Gallery

545 West 25th St., 3rd Fl.

New York

May 13 – June 17, 2011

“Featuring paintings from his newest body of work, this exhibition will also include a major environmental installation by the artist. Kibong Rhee’s work consistently challenges the eye, encouraging the viewer to look intently at his exquisitely rendered landscapes. Primarily interested in the delicate balance between temporal fleeting moments and the eternal, Rhee’s poetic tableaux evoke a rare balance of sensuality and meditative distance” – gallery press release

http://www.tinakimgallery.com/exhibitions/2011-05-13_kibong-rhee/

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I went to this show last Friday, and it was really great! Kibong’s aesthetic is very unusual and strikingly in line with many of Deleuze’s ideas. Both the paintings and the installation take on a seemingly simple idea: a landscape caught in a fog, but treat all of the “simple” layers of this concept with such detail that a truly complex form is born. Also, simple is probably the wrong word here.

I wanted to focus on the installation, which features a black tree in a glassed in space. The tree is slowly turning, and as it turns it drags a couple of low hanging branches over a white floor, and through a pile of black sand. This black sand slowly then becomes a gradually expanding trail on the white floor. However, the tree moves so slowly that one must be taken into the space before noticing this detail. Also, the space in which this tree is encapsulated has rounded corners so that distance is distorted, and there is a perpetual fog surrounding the tree further challenging perspective of distance and clarity. I found this piece to be so incredibly evocative and it aroused in me a stream of Deleuzian ideas as the piece itself can represent a becoming as it itself is in constant change, it also seemed to represent the virtual as it is involved in an ongoing creation in, but also outside, of time, but also the crystal-image, because the tree itself is an artwork, but it is composed from parts of a real tree. It has come to represent both real and imaginary in this piece, but further through orientation and dis-orientation of the fog and movement, time becomes reset to the pace of the piece itself.  Overall, this piece for me was a wonderful example of Deleuze’s overarching belief that true thought inspires more thought.

– Stephanie

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