Books and Things (2020) is an exploration of the Korean folk painting genre called chaekgeori (translates to ‘books and things’) from the late 18th century. Known for depicting books, scholarly tools and imported goods, they were commissioned to be displayed in studies as a symbol of academic prosperity. This series is a personal interpretation of the genre through a heuristic self-exploration study on my personal internal and external influences during the first wave of COVID and the final months of my Master’s (Art Education) program.
To the left is the piece that started it all, based on the ‘book-pile’ style chaekgeori that depicts my own set of tools: scholarly text for research, books for leisure, notebooks for thoughts and materials for creation that includes Korean traditional mediums and the everyday pen. The middle piece is a reflection of my own ‘in-between’ space (Homi K. Bhabha) through hybrid depictions of traditional and modern forms of books as well as curtains and a window that divides the interior and exterior, reminiscent of the ‘peeking-in’ style chaekgeori. Lastly, the piece to the right is a personal interpretation of the floating-style chaekgeori that depicts possessions representing my innate desire to connect with external elements outside of the digital world, heightened in the thick of COVID. These elements include nature (the spider plant that was gifted to me and the scallions I grew in my one-room apartment), a Lebanese pot from a friend, and letters I exchanged with friends and family.
Jeannie Kyungjin Kim is a Korean-born Canadian artist-educator currently residing on ancestral Haudensaunee and Anishnaabeg lands (Hamilton, ON). She holds a MA from Concordia University (Art Education), Hons BA from University of Toronto Mississauga and an AD from Sheridan College (Art and Art History). She takes interest in notions of cultural translation and hybrid identities by working primarily with Asian watercolours, video and drawing. Kim frequently works in-between traditional Korean art and contemporary practices as she looks to her inner core and cultural roots for inspiration.
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