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(Korean, b. 1963)
Pencil and matches on paper
Framed: 55 x 47 cm (21 5/8 x 18 1/2 in.)
Gift of the Artist 2010.283.2
© Kim Beom
Held most often in stadiums, mass games in South Korea are highly regimented spectacles in which tens of thousands of performers participate. Based on the artist’s memories from his days as a student, these games took countless hours of compulsory practice and disciplined participants to express one idea in apparent unison. Here, matches represent a crowd of villains who have been invited to play a mass game. Like much of Kim’s work, these drawings include words and narratives that intensely engage the viewer’s imagination. In sequence, they follow a scenario with a beginning, a climax, and a resolution. The artist leaves it to the viewer to reconcile the rigidity of the sticks with the fluidity of the writing and the making of the mandala. This gap between matter and image ends the game by paralleling the complex nature of the villain: an individual who has drifted away from humanity’s ideals.
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