Artist Young-Soo Kim's recent works Inherent signs series are the works that black line drawing such as ancient hieroglyphics loudly take their places like a text of secret document on abstract expressionistic basis that paint trickling and overlapping is freely spread out. English character or Korean text stood once in a while on a part of painting plane in a way of collage or stencil and/or were really written by her. Sometimes they are legible but most of them are illegible. Perhaps they are meaningless in reading. Because text on her painting plane is presented just like unreadable image than presented text's own function which is subject to readability.




Before & after Inherent signs by Young-Soo Kim

Kim, Sung-Ho (Art critic)

Playing life-self examination from inherent unconsciousness
Summing up her works on the subtile which appeared in solo exhibition are as follows: 'Sympathy 2004', 'Being music composition 2008', 'Life is like playing instrument 2008' 'Drawing for sonata 2011', 'Adagio in sonata 2014', 'Inherent signs 2017'. Except recent works of Inherent signs series, it seems that she plasticly pursued discourse like human-unconsciousness-desire on the subject of human from the first solo exhibition to the present. She opined that she has kept working continuously on the subject of human from 2000 in her artist note on the subtile of 'Adagio in sonata' 2014. They are concretely based on sensitive sympathy and pity originated from life such as feminity, nude, war, relation, unconscious island on the inside, philosophies for life and so on. These consciousness fully based on above mentioned, in her opinion, were expressed info the truth of joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure pushed in unconsciousness in her own works. It seems like self-examination that latent speculations in unconsciousness wrigglingly knocks the surface layer of consciousness.

From 2008 to 2018 she has scrutinized this self-examination on the subject of 'Life is like playing instrument' on the basis of thinking that life is just same as playing musical instrument. She mentioned in artist note on the title of her works were based on playing instrument in 2010 as follows; "Life is same as a kind of playing instrument. Playing music needs good instruments and player's best efforts. Good playing follows many external experiences and internal motivations. In the process of life, inevitable and experiential learning give me inherent and unconscious motivation. It represented in my painting. A painting is an output that I who am acting at the moment of painting and I who am in unconsciousness produced together. Eventually I do not paint music but paint me." The fragments of statement such as 'life, playing music, external experiences, internal motivations, inherent unconsciousness, painting, I who am acting at the moment of painting, I who am in unconsciousness, no painting music but me' clarify that artist Young-Soo Kim searches for her works and does for the life of human subject through the theme of playing music and that it is the process of self-examination ultimately. Artist statement that she expresses as "my ultimate search for the self is the very pursuing freedom, for me painting is freedom and freedom is the very human, me", disproves our opinions. In that sense, even though 'playing life' series for her is thematic consciousness that she scrutinized as a way of pursuing existence, it effectively functions as a metaphor which leads her whole world of works. In other words the subject matter of playing music is only 'means and ways' in order that she may accomplish and realize desire and love which are the most basic motives come into light in her work's world. Because the ultimate thematic consciousness and goal that her works reach forward are introspection of self-love and confirmation of it. Behold her utterance: "The most basic motives of my painting are desire and love. Living is endless self-love because its foundation issues from desire. The life of each person is a music playing in a way of each person. This music contains emotion of life at every moment". Therefore for her the image of human body which a musical instrument such as a cello expresses is a metaphor for these human desire and love. Such a playing (musical instrument) is to pursue the way of love. So then what on earth is the discourse that makes the basic motives in her works express as desire and love for her ? I define it as a call of 'représentation de chose suppressed and latent in unconsciousness'. I examine what it concretely means centering around her recent works of Inherent signs series.

Ⅲ. Inherent signs-
Nonverval 'acoustic image' and the return of représentation de chose in unconsciousness. Artist Young-Soo Kim's recent works Inherent signs series are the works that black line drawing such as ancient hieroglyphics loudly take their places like a text of secret document on abstract expressionistic basis that paint trickling and overlapping is freely spread out. English character or Korean text stood once in a while on a part of painting plane in a way of collage or stencil and/or were really written by her. Sometimes they are legible but most of them are illegible. Perhaps they are meaningless in reading.

Because text on her painting plane is presented just like unreadable image than presented text's own function which is subject to readability. Her works let us greatly recollect another term of image acoustique(=acoustic image) that a semiologist, F. D. Saussure already designated 'signifiant(記標)‘. In the meaning of signifiant that they are presented in the sound of parole or in the image like trace, they are well-matched conceptions with her recent works that dispersed in signifiant or illegible chaîne acoustique and also with her previous works visualized playing music. We know that those signifiants nearly doesn't exist without ‘signifié(記意)’ As if F. D. Saussure compared that a combination of signifiant and signifié can not be cut into separation, its existence is like the front and back of a paper. This relation between both signifiant and signifié is a mutual prerequisite relation. If so where the hell is signifié in her works that signifiant slopped around? In Freud's opinion it is under acting in the state of latent sign (corporate body of signifiant and signifié unverbalized) in the depths of unconsciousness.

Because while the world of consciousness is the very world of language, the world of unconsciousness is the world of sign for Freud. At this level her paintings reach forward to a mass corporate body of signifiant and signifié that are latent in the surface layer of unconsciousness continuously delaying to be a language that acting in the stratum of consciousness with signifiants and signifiés completely combined. As Freud regarded the world of consciousness as a 'formation du mot (言語構成体)' and the world of unconsciousness as a 'formation de l'object (事物構成体)', the texts illegible and with illegibility non sensed that show in her works is not the conscious world of language that signifiant and signifié correspond thoroughly. But they exist as only signs that signifiant stands in the front. Those texts are individualized 'parole' erupted from her unconsciousness than grammaticized(文法化的) 'langue' in society. In Freud's opinion they are not a formation du mot formed in consciousness but formation de l'objet floating in unconsciousness. That's it! Inherent signs of her recent works subject float on the border between consciousness and unconsciousness, uttering from unconsciousness with no standing before to the world of consciousness. Her Inherent signs are understood thus. To begin with they summon unconsciousness into the real world as mentioned that "paintings are products made by 'me when I am acting' at the moment of painting and 'me when I am in unconsciousness' together" in artist statement 2010, and joy, anger, sorrow and pleasure latent in human unconsciousness drag out pathos through a work of art in her artist note 2018. Because 'in her early days she moved around often and had to make friends a little locking herself behind her good persona', 'the experience that she has grown up' become a basis that had suppressed instinct in unconsciousness and basic desires introspected in her creation of paintings.

Behold her next utterance:
"As a former artist Franz Kline's lines with its architectural structure encourage me to paint works, Christopher Wool's and Mel Bochner's meaningless words just like scribbles became a momentum to stimulate the desire to utter the suppressed things all the while. It was same that I met the basic instinct sunken deeply in the sea of unconsciousness. It became the opportunity that the instinct of latent desire's looks instigated me to use signs, that is, the words that I want to expose and speak by myself, the words to be revealed out from me in my self into 2 dimensional planar space" (artist note 2018). Her paintings inspired by Franz Kline's calligraphic abstract, Christopher Wool's and Mel Bochner's senseless sense chain are overlapped by abstract expressionistic color layer, black, and thick text that is not a text and meaningless texts babbling on about just like a monologue. They are generated from unconsciousness like suppressed instinct and are floating on the border between consciousness and unconsciousness. According to Freud because instinct exists on the border between mind and body it is not a consciousness but an unconsciousness by itself. If so how is instinct grasped? The instinct that can never become the object of consciousness becomes the object of consciousness through only a representation that represents instinct. By the way instinct consists of only a représentation de chose (事物表象) in the world of unconsciousness and the suppression prohibits that représentation de chose can be translated into a représentation de mot(言語表象) in the world of consciousness. For her 'Inherent signs' are not to obey these suppression of language and are 'acoustic images' that hold a representation de chose(refuses to be a language) floated off from suppressed unconsciousness instinct and is a existence as a parole at the same time. " Intention towards desire expressed in line or stroke, memory and emotional color works as a tool that demolish the border between signifiant and signifié through scattered signs in the state of parole " she said. That is, texts amongst picture plane are no longer langue but sign of parole and are those which float on the border between consciousness and unconsciousness represented from latent unconsciousness as a signifiant that loses signifié. That's it. Représentations de chose in her works are not those things that opposed to become a langue from suppression and are those which are called as the suppressed, I. e. signs as signifiants, signs as parole by itself. In Kant's meaning Young-Soo Kim holds due calling of 'the very original looks theirselves' in the state that infuses life into représentation suppressed even though it is just the image whose représentation is false and it is only an indication of abyss of things theirselves that get stained by subjective occupation.

the trace of memory or structural body generated in unconsciousness
While she held 'Inherent signs' series starting from about 2017 to 2018 even if she searched it on the extended line on subject, she presented wholly different new works. Those are the very crack series in the subject of 'Field'. A crack is a line or a narrow gap between two things or two parts of a thing. That is an effect of partedness that she made on purpose through chemical reaction with pigment and medium mixed together.

Cracks in her works are the results intended in the point of view that she usually painted differently from the bottom or separately distributed cross form that handled differently to the extent of crack and long rectangular plane in the painting. In that sense cracks can be said to be a result of intentional acts that exaggerate in order to show it was caused by a mistake. By doing that she expects accidental effects on the premise of necessity. Between accident and necessity, activity and inactivity, intentional action and unintentional action, her paintings made numerous gaps and wrinkles into many divisions as the rice paddies splintered all over due to a severe drought and like the back of old mans' hands. Is that a burst and a disassembling or another creation? When does it crack and when does it create? We grasped that her works constantly resembles a series of phenomena happened on the border between consciousness and unconsciousness in these questions. In Freud's opinion those her cracks are crevices and traces mnésiques(記憶痕迹) which hold a place in unconsciousness in the looks of holes, gaps, severances, mistakes seceded from a chain of consciousness at the same time.

That is, in Freud's opinion cracks in her works are nonverbal acoustic image which is not structuralized as a langage and représentation de chose that do not reach représentation de mot in consciousness, représentation de chose that continuously generated in unconsciousness at the same time. By the way, why is she developing works of strikingly different appearance from previous works that expressionistic painting plane is full of Freud's libido and pathos and calligraphic abstract traverses? To where does her paintings different from previous ones, appearing as cracks present a new monochromatic painting style(單色畵畵風) go? We need to examine these cracks in Jacques Lacans' eyes who is Freud's follower apart from Freud. Because his follower Lacan regards unconsciousness as an structural existence that language was different from Freud's thought that he regarded unconsciousness as an existence which it did not reach the world of language in consciousness. That is, while Freud perceived unconsciousness as a world that a nonverbal sign works, Lacan regarded unconsciousness as a world that structural language operates even in unconsciousness. While for Freud unconsciousness can be regarded as a post-ontological(后存在論的) result that come out of suppressed subject's instinct and impulse, for Lacan it can be regarded as pre-ontological (先存在論的)one. Because for Lacan unconsciousness is a world of signifiant formed by means that social tradition, norms and language system(symbolic order), which already existed before subject is born, id est, ideologie permeate its consciousness.

If her 'Inherent signs' series immersed in unconsciousness world in Freud's opinion ask a question in pathos's place, new 'crack' series can be regarded as meditating like navigating world of unconsciousness strucruralized like a language in Lacan's view point. Only to keep in mind is the fact that Lacan being indifferent to combination itself between both significant and signifié, marks with a side dot in signifiant preferably, being different from Saussure's opinoin that Saussure marks with a side dot in signifié on the assumption that a combination of both signifiant and signifié exists. That is, for Lacan unconsciousness world is a structuralized (構調和的) body 'like a language(linguistic signifiant)'. Therefore for Lacan as unconsciousness is not the unknown which is hidden or latent Young-Soo Kim's cracks is not a suppressed, latent transformed body but a structurally generated body which is revealed by dissolution and restructuralization. The Lacan's concept of subject as other is also helpful to understand artist Kim Young-Soo's crack series to some extent. According to Lacan the more human talk about himself the more he is contradicting himself. This eternal inconsistence between both énoncé(I who speak) and énonciation( I who is spoken) is caused because of linguistic structural necessity. Here subject is separated and ego is alienated. At this time human is willing to meet signifiant expressing the subject who is turning aside from pain of self inconsistence and accepting self alienation. What is that? When it is based on the fact that I who speak clearly exist, the Lacan's solution is that a certain absolute being must be sustained outside language. It is just a discourse of Autre(Other,大他者). Behold! Unconsciousness of human subject is formed by Autre's world and discourse and subject wants Autre's discourse to fill lack, vacant seat, blank.

The reason why that we are humans, is subordinate to these symbolic order, linguistic order, discourse order. Lacan's subject is 'divided subject', 'splitted subject' or 'slashed subject' as he uttered between the very 'ego as other' and 'unconsciousness as other's discourse'. At this time Lacan's subject is a fixed and narcissistic ego of attachment rather than active ego because ego can not help containing wrong images with no choice. Kim Young-Soo's cracks function as a metaphor of 'divided subject', 'wrong images' that Lacan's great Autre's discourse causes. The reason why is those which are shown as being meditating like swimming the structuralized world of unconsciousness are shown as a human subject wandering about between cracks and cracks at a moment in this dimension. Just to bear in mind is that this comparison and interpretation can be a rash prejudgement in this respect that Young-Soo Kim's cracks are not even released yet and are progressive works.


profile about Kim, Young Soo

M.F.A Graduate School of Fine Art(painting), Hong-ik University, Korea

Solo Exhibitions: 26times(2000~2020)
2020 Field, Invition, Gallery Artcelsi, Seoul
2019 Inherent signs,Invitation, Hyocheon Gallery, Hongcheon
2017 Inherent signs, Gallery 1898, Seoul
2018 Inherent signs, Gallery 1898hall 1,2,3, Seoul
2018 Adagio in Sonata, Gallery 1898,Seoul
2015 YoungKim 2007~2014, Invitation, Hwe Hwa Art Center,Seoul
2014 Beyond the Storm, Wee Gallery,Scottsdale AZ,U.S.A
2014 Beyond the Storm, Gallery Park Avenue, LA.U.S.A
2014 Adagio in Sonata ,Invitation, Art & Culture Hall, Ansan
2014 Adagio in Sonata, U-gyeung Gallery Invitational Exhibition (Geoje Haegumgang Theme Musium),Geoje
2014 VergilAmerica 10th Anniversary Invitational Exhibition, The Island, Sea & Sea Gallery,Pusan
2014 Life is like playing instrument, Hwe Hwa Art Center,Seoul
2013 The Letters, Invitation, Art & Culture Hall, Ansan  
2012 Playing My Sonata, Invitation, The K Gallery, Seoul
2012 Island, Hangaram Art Hall, Seoul
2012 Island, Invitation, Art & Culture Hall, Ansan
2011 Drawing for Sonata, Invitation, Art & Culture Hall, Ansan
2010 Sonata, Art & Culture Hall, Invitation, Ansan
2009 Being- Music Composition, Invitation, Ansan
2008 Being-Music Composition, Invitation, Danwon Art Museum, Ansan
2008 Nude Drawing, Insa Art Plaza, Seoul
2007 Human Being, Danwon Art Museum, Ansan
2004 Sympathy, Pyongtaekho Art Hall, Pyongtaek
2002 Cross, Pyunghwa Gallery, Seoul
2000 1st Exhibition, Pyunghwa Gallery, Seoul

Group Exhibition:  Over 160 times(2001~2020)
2020 Adieu Distopia, Gallery Artcelsi
2019 The 6th korea.Romania International Art Culture Exchange Exhibition
2019 La 5eme Exposition ESPRIT NOUVEAU de la AIAM, Louvre
2019 Contemporary Artist Association Regular Exhibition, Yangpyeong Art Museum
2019 Freedom2019 Now& Future, Fukuoka Asian Museum
2019 Freedom2019 Tomorrow different from yesterday, Yangpyeong Art Museum
2019 Mix & Match 4th, Gurugy Gallery
2019 4th Exposition ESPRIT NOUVEAU de la AIAM-Tantation du Dessin Coreen, Louvre
2019 AIAM(Association International Andre Malraux) ,Paris

Art Fair
2020 BAMA, Bexco
2019 Art Pusan, Bexco, Seoul Art Show,Coex
2019 Harbour Art Fair, Hongkong
2017 Art Gyoengju, Hico
2016 Healing Arts Festival, Coex
2014 Busan International Art Fair, Bexco
2012 Daegu Art Fai, Exco

Artist's social networks
Main Office

Daeneung Building 2F. Gangnamdae-ro 107gil 21,
Seocho-gu, Seoul, South Korea


+82 2 541 8903

Email us

We're on social networks