Kim Dokyun’s solo show, “S.F.” at ONE AND J. Gallery highlighted his most recent works from 2004 to 2005. The works in this show centered on an “urban architecture” motif where the artist found abstract beauty in the strict and minimal modern architecture subjects of his works. The style of objectivism photography serves as an effective means of artistic expression and depiction for the artist. Virtual reality, deadpan aesthetic and abstraction are all features of Kim Dokyun’s works. The impressions of virtual reality that appear in the works come not only from the impressions of the iron and glass surface of modern edifices but also from computer generated image manipulation. Dokyun’s works are a very artificial type of photography. Even though we stand in front of his works and see detailed images, it is hard to discern whether the image is real or computer generated or if the space itself exists or is imaginary. Moreover, while the artist takes photographs of urban architecture, he attempts to do so with a completely neutral attitude in an attempt to distance himself and his influence from the object. The simple contrasts between light and dark or the repeated grids on the outer wall of minimalist buildings all work to create the abstraction.
Above all, the images the artist shows is related to the geometric beauty discovered from urban architecture. While his works do use modern structure as its subject, the images focus more on the hard edges and color abstractions. The interior and exterior of the architectures all lose their individuality as buildings and structures and can be seen as patterns. The artist chooses an angle which is more “pictorial” amongst the variable angles found in architecture and takes this angle to compose the work. The work, produced in this way, is closer to a color image that shows composition and pattern of space rather than traditional architectural photography.
His recent series of works show the similarities and distinctions that co-exist between his work and the photographic works spawned from the “Becher” school. The points in common from the “Becher” school are that he has borrowed concepts of typology and serial photos that take objects of contemporary society and culture and positions them in a neutral way.
The point of distinction between his works and the work of the Bechers is his use of architectural edifices and especially the minimal shapes and design of modern architecture. The Bechers were also strict in their use of daylight and neutral facades, whereas the artist recently seems to be moving away from the purely neutral themes in his recent works and differs in his use of light. The artist focuses on some portion of the structure so the viewer is unable to presume the whole structure. He also takes shots using center perspective or oblique line composition to express the command of perspective. More than anything else, these works were taken at night when natural light has all but disappeared. The works of Dokyun Kim are not from the light of the sun but by the illumination emanating from the insides and outsides of structures. The artist’s photographic works, taken using this artificial light, feels unfamiliar and yet the viewer is drawn to their beautiful color. One is also drawn into the space of the photograph and the abstraction of the picture and can get lost inhabiting a place somewhere between reality and fiction.
Text excerpted from ONE AND J. catalogue essay by Kim Hee Kyung