Vanity of Life
Nov 1- Dec15, 2018
Vanity of Life: In this exhibition, Soojin Kim introduces an interesting perspective on American confectionery and consumerism. She borrowed subject and format from a Dutch still-life tradition like Trompe l'Oeil in these works. The paintings depict a cupboard containing a human skull, paper with text, natural sundries, and iconic American sweet, Oreos. Vanitas is the epitome of European still-life in the 16th and 17th centuries representing the symbolic monument of flowers, exotic fruits, raw meat, skeletons, feathers, shells, insects, and other human achievements to remind human mortality.
During and after World War II, American sweets were delivered to many foreign children by the hands of G.Is and missionaries. Soojin's father experienced childhood Korean War [1950-1953] and postwar famine. He followed up with the US soldiers who handed him the "world's best cookies." Ever since then, he always carried American sweets with him in his everyday. To him, American sweets meant a great relief from famine and perhaps a utopian dream on America. For her, it was not only the Memento Mori on the death of my father but also the signal of change in the culture and the times Korea faced after the Korean War.