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Kim Joon

Tattoo and Taboo

November 18 – December 13, 2009

Bird land chrysler, 2008, digital print, 120 x 210 cm
Ebony-puma, 2008, c-print, 174cm x110cm
Bird land-budwiser, 2008, digital print, 120cm x120cm
Bird land-honda, 2008, digital print, 120cm x 120cm
Cradle song-ferragamo, 2009, digital print, 160cm x 80cm
bird land-donald duck, 2008, digital print, 120cm x120cm
Ebony-pink, 2008, c-print, 110 x 174 cm
bird land-mini cooper, 2008, digital print, 120cm x120cm
Neverland, 2009, digital print, 120cm x120cm
bird land-breitling, 2008, digital print, 120cm x 120cm
Red bubble, 2007, c-print, 140cm  x 100cm
Bird land-chanel, 2009, 120cm x120cm
Red shoe dairy, 2007,  68cm x 120cm
Stay-warhol, 2007, c-print,  87cm x150cm

Press Release

A fascination with tattoos lies at the core of Kim Joon's work. Having exhibited widely across the globe, this is the Korean artist's first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Using three-dimensional computer graphics, Kim creates digital prints and videos of undulating nude bodies covered in ink. Supine figures are enveloped by bold logos and prints from luxury brands such as Ferragamo, Montblanc, and Vivienne Westwood forming a surreal landscape. Kim's tattoo imagery provokes questions about the impact of consumerism on society. The artist says, "I am interested in tattoos as a metaphor for hidden desire or a kind of compulsion engraved into human consciousness. Tattoos can reflect individual and collective reality or displaced desire."

Kim's exploration of tattoos stems from his experiences tattooing his peers while in the Korean military. In his earliest works, Kim grappled with the notion of tattoos as socially taboo in present-day Korean society. He created sculptures that mimicked tattooed portions of flesh. Using water-based markers, he embellished latex-coated sponges, creating vivid, anthropomorphic parts divorced from the human form.

The artist's recent work neatly overturns the negative connotations surrounding tattoos. In his hands, not only do tattoos reflect social habits and desires but they're also a vehicle for transforming the body into a highly aestheticized object. Using animation software, Kim renders three-dimensional bodies upon which he meticulously grafts photographs of human, animal, and artificially created skin. He then superimposes tattoos of colorful brand logos and patterns on the skin's surface. The close-range photographs expose skin pores and pigmentation heightening the immediacy of ink entering flesh. Vibrantly colored, Kim's entangled tattooed figures are suggestive and sensual, fluid and erotically intimate.

Kim Joon was born in 1966 in Seoul, Korea, where he currently lives and works. He has exhibited his work at the Total Museum, Seoul, Korea; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Kwachon, Korea; the National Taiwan Museum; Canvas International Art gallery, Amsterdam; Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin; Gallery Hyundai, Paris; Sabina Lee gallery, Los Angeles; Walsh Gallery, Chicago; and Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York.

For more information, please email or call 2581 9678

Asia Tatler
Asia Tatler
Tattoo and Taboo December 2009

Tattoos are taboo in Korea - but it's a Korean artist named Kim Joon that's become well versed in the art of body painting.

Video: Korean artist Kim Joon and his show 'Tattoo and Taboo' November 2009

Korean artist Kim Joon explores the human skin as an extension of canvas and tattoos as a manifestation of human desire.