Platefuls of tangled flesh, text icons and food are standard fare from HaYoung Kim’s first solo art exhibition in East London this month.
The South Korean artist is cutting the ribbon on Eat All You Can at the Hoxton Art Gallery, a show in which she drills down into our relationship with technology through the physical and digital trappings of consumer culture.
For better or worse, technology has become the backbone of our work and play and here, Kim captures the translucent area where our lives in the physical realm overlap with the virtual world.
“My main influence is science fiction-like reality,” says Kim. “I like researching new technology related to human beings and how it affects us. Being a big fan of Japanese anime and science fiction novels, I dreamed of super crazy futures when I was kid, and now some of it has become true.”
Kim’s latest exhibition, curated by the director of the Jerwood Foundation, Lara Wardle, is a playful exploration of our relationship with, and consumption of, technology.
Eat All You Can features a series of ‘dish paintings’, depicting the digital and organic diet we consume each day. In her work she scrambles the virtual and the physical, painting disarming pictures of blank-eyed girls eating big bowls of emoticons, soft fruits and dolly mixtures.
“I saw a sign which said ‘Eat All You Can’ not ‘All You Can Eat’ in a Chinese buffet restaurant. It sounded like a military order,“ she says.
“We’re a bit like that in everyday life, because we have no choice but accept what we are getting from the internet and media. It brings a feeling of pathetic and desperate flatness.”
Graduating from the Royal Academy just last year and fresh off the back of a residency in New York, the prize-winning South Korean artist is returning to work in London once again.
She is etching out a space for herself with vivid images of Manga-inspired characters and landscapes and experimentation with unusual mediums such as film and polyester. Bombastic dashes of colour framed by clean white backgrounds and provocative subject matters are typical of Kim’s style to date, cutting through much of the noise and clutter of modern life.
“People could see and experience the blast of vivid colours with cartoonish imagery that I collected daily from the internet and from advertisements,” says Kim.
“What I want people to take from the show is that those colourful, friendly images actually contain dark stories of our life that we overlook. Those images are what we see every day and they strongly affect the modern human mind, consciously and unconsciously.”
At a time where we can scarcely walk ten paces up a road without being force-fed fast-food bargains, holidays, discounts and phone contracts, her work has a timely resonance. Catch the show from the end of the month at the Hoxton Art Gallery until 4 October.
Eat All You Can
Hoxton Art Gallery
64 Charlotte Road
From 31 August 31 until 4 October 2012.