Press Room

NMWA and SCAD Present Two New Sculptural Installations The In-Between by Artist JuYeon Kim

Jun 22 2010

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is pleased to partner with the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to present The In-Between, an exhibition featuring two distinct yet interconnected sculptural installations by Korean-born artist JuYeon Kim.

Created with the assistance of SCAD students, as well as select faculty and the Fiber Guild of Savannah, the two meditative spaces—one fashioned from embroidered fabric panels and the other a wooden construction embellished with textural forms—feature thousands of human figures presented in an astounding array of poses and circumstances. Preliminary drawings and models by Kim and SCAD students will also be on display June 25 through September 13, 2010.

“It has been wonderful working with SCAD President Paula Wallace and Executive Director Laurie Ann Farrell to bring this contemporary art project to fruition. I also appreciate the efforts of NMWA’s team led by Chief Curator Jordana Pomeroy and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Kathryn Wat. We hope this first exhibition partnership will lead to additional collaborations that increase NMWA’s ability to showcase the varied talents of contemporary women artists,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling.

JuYeon Kim was born in GwangJu, Korea, and earned art degrees from Hongik University in Seoul, Alfred University in Alfred, New York, and the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She is best known for her intricate paintings and sculptures that embody dualities among Eastern and Western aesthetics and ideas.

“When I came to the United States, I felt complete culture shock,” said Kim. “I was struck by the duality of thinking between cultures, how every belief or custom has an opposite. Most wedding dresses in the West are white because the color symbolizes purity, but in many parts of Asia, white symbolizes death. I wanted to explore the space between those polarities.”

Inspired by the artist’s and students’ interpretation of the eighth-century Buddhist text “The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” these ambitious works signify the range of human experience, reminding us of the volatility of the physical world and our illusory perception of it.

Seeking to bridge the gap between divergent cultural traditions, Kim began studying the bardo—the space between death and re-birth in Tibetan Buddhist practice. The bardo includes spiritual experiences that range from serene to fearsome. Inspired by her own and her students’ interpretation of the 8th-century Buddhist text, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Kim created the two sculptural installations for The In-Between. These ambitious works signify the broad range of human experience.

The walls of “Untitled_mi10” (the “meditation room”) are made from more than 100 strips of white and gray fabric that hang in three concentric layers. Each strip is embroidered with figures and fragments of narrative scenes, and each layer represents the past, present or future.

“Untitled_ci10,” the second installation, consists of hardwood panels with interior walls covered entirely with sculpted figures in both high and low relief.

Viewers are encouraged to enter the installations, and in doing so, to become the final participants in Kim’s collaborative process.

The In-Between is the third project Kim has realized with SCAD. Kim began working on the concept for the exhibition, commissioned by SCAD, while in residence at the MacDowell Colony. In spring 2010, Kim served as a visiting artist at SCAD’s Savannah location, where she worked with students studying fiber arts, painting and sculpture.

SUPPORT

The In-Between is a commission made possible by Savannah College of Art and Design. Additional support for its presentation at NMWA was provided by Lois Lehrman Grass and the Members of NMWA.

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National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), founded in 1981 and opened in 1987, is the only museum solely dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women in the visual, performing and literary arts. The museum’s permanent collection features 4,000 works from the 16th century to the present created by more than 1,000 artists; including Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo, Alma Thomas, Lee Krasner, Louise Bourgeois, and Chakaia Booker along with special collections of 18th-century silver tableware and botanical prints. NMWA is located at 1250 New York Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., in a landmark building near the White House. It is open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, noon–5 p.m. For information, call 202-783-5000 or visit www.nmwa.org. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for visitors 65 and over and students, and Free for NMWA Members and youth 18 and under.

The Savannah College of Art and Design is the most comprehensive art and design university in the world, offering more degree programs and specializations than any other art and design university. SCAD is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees in distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers students a choice of degree programs in 46 majors and more than 50 minors at locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Lacoste, France; online through SCAD eLearning; and in Hong Kong beginning Fall 2010 (pending approval by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). For more information, visit scad.edu.