mihyun maria kim, 2020
Video installation, 2:59 minutes
Throughout Phase I of the pandemic lockdown, I found solidarity with groups of artists in Mississauga, as we discussed how we were coping, what we were processing, and what situations we were facing in our isolation.
As time passed, I found more groups of artists and their spaces through online searches and suggestions by peers. Since those artist spaces had closed, I became curious about where artists were processing or producing their work.
Many artists either used a section of their home or moved further out to be with family members or a partner. Some chose to be in nature in the garden to witness the small changes each day while working with their hands to dig up the ground. Others headed to the nearest park or the lake as a place of meditation. A few found this time to be the most productive they had ever been, and some found it very difficult to continue what they had been doing.
Since I was also locked out of my artist studio, I wanted to use this time to get outside and visit those sacred places mentioned by artists as being their haven.
This sense of searching for the patch of grass or rock, fragmented existence, overlapping of days and nights, finding pleasure in nature, or a small getaway in the car, were the moments I captured and put together in an arrangement depicting morning ’til night with no distinction of individual stories or days. Moments of being the only person on the street to being one among many capture the transitions we have been going through together as we opened up to Phase II.
The piece is titled Finder’s Keepers because as I visited the places that artists mentioned to me and that I found by myself, I occupied and claimed the spaces as my own for the duration of my visit.
Although many of the artist spaces that I wanted to capture were still closed to the public, it was valuable to speak to artists and find ways to stay producing content in this time.
During the past three years, I was given opportunities to participate and work with international artist residencies for six months each in Paris, Barcelona, and Seville and a full year in Leipzig.
After returning to Toronto last September to participate as a Resident Artist at the Mississauga Living Arts Centre (MLAC), I decided to lengthen my stay to be with family through the events of the pandemic. These conditions have opened my mind and redefined blurred boundaries of interior and exterior spaces, public and private realms, the lucidity of time, and notions of progress and regress.
I have always been heavily informed by histories, individual and collective experiences, distorted and manipulated memories, altered perceptions of the world through the intergenerational transferring of beliefs, values and stories, and notions of truth. These interests were born initially from being a Korean-Canadian, as I long searched the tangible stories of Korean diaspora left in lands without citizenship throughout Asia during WWII and the Korean War.
Through constant research and exploration of transgenerational trauma and how it affects individuals in present situations, I paint the figures using the face and body as the place which holds the traces of human experience.
Video or audio works capture conversations with the self or with others around these topics, site specific works become the response to the location with interpretations brought from elsewhere, and my paintings express the narratives that are encountered and interpreted through my listening.