Joeun Kim Aatchim

eye jailed eye

Curated by Gavin Runzel

31 May - 23 June


"Because I am very small as an adult that people often mistake me for a child, maybe it is a good sign that my childhood-prayer was heard? Then what is left is to be a good painter despite my rebellious years of prolonged hatred. Would I be forgiven? At least I forgave my eyes. My intermittent prayer in adulthood was only an embarrassing repeat of plagiarism from my childhood's. Then again, I rely on my mother’s secret speaking in tongues that no one knows what it meant even herself, hoping it redeems her daughter from the secret sin that the daughter, myself, committed to plot her eyes into jails and let them speak no words for years. Also, her unintelligible prayer may also salvage her daughter from drowning in the melancholy that she just saved herself in order to rescue the daughter out of it, too."

eye jailed eye marks Joeun Kim Aatchim’s return to painting after corrective eye-surgery, in 2008, stole the practice from her. With this body of work she investigates the relationship of her vision and memory to her painting practice, taking on the subject of ancestral trauma. She threads the ribbon back through her past exploring the pain of her mother’s depression, the cycle of trauma and the liberation of forgiveness. Aatchim uses natural paints on Korean silk, the illusory quality of the work imitating the shimmer of memory and the space between what is seen and what is recalled.


Joeun Kim Aatchim is a Korean-born, New York based artist. She received her BFA from NYU and her MFA from Columbia University. She was a 2017 resident at Skowhegan School of Painting and Art (Maine) and is a current Open Session Fellow at The Drawing Center (NY). This is her second solo exhibition