Korean artist Kyuin Shim creates work that your pupils will interpret as a straight up science fiction novel. One body of work in particular, “Black Black,” is a series of gruesome depictions of black mannequin bodies gone haywire. As a digital artist and sculptor, he works compiling 3D renderings of real images. These sculptures, with the glossy stature of high fashion, the black mannequins are enrobed in large blisters. In varying states of vulnerability, his sculptures are suffering implosion and meltdown; a person who has ripped his head off gives himself fellatio, another is on his hands and knees, expelling their entire insides. Shim’s creatures come across as gross exaggerations of real emotional states, and it is not always easy to interpret how they are intended, but it is evident that they are referential to the individual struggle that we all face.
Another series of his, featuring only white mannequins, is titled “Small Place,” and references interpersonal relationships and the implied metaphors within them. The white series emanates an atmosphere of tranquility and calm. Mannequin lovers with bowls for heads pour water between one another, while others sit pensively. There is not the searing prospect of suffering that “Black Black” encompasses. “Small Place” is meditative and inviting. Although parts of Shim’s series have been cited as representing dysfunctional relationships, there is no real hostility in the work. It is interesting to look at both series of his work side to side and to take note of the drastic shift in tone.