Harper’s is pleased to present Brooklyn-based artist Joeun Kim Aatchim’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, Can Day See Me?, showcasing a new body of work that Aatchim created throughout her residencies at Lighthouse Works and Triangle Arts Association, New York.
Mistake, poems not letters
Mystery, no recipient designated
Mastery, acute sincerity what and how
Misery, no sincerity to whom I am sincere.
Posthumous I may disclose:
How deep of a drawer—
You were to me.
—Joeun Kim Aatchim
Aatchim is a visual artist and writer whose practice brings transparency to the psychology of womanhood. Inspired by her grandmother, who was a bidahn jangsoo (silk merchant) in Korea, Aatchim began experimenting with traditional Korean silk painting techniques that date back over two centuries. Each piece is meticulously prepared with sheer silks, organic adhesives, and pigments derived from natural stones, shells, and various minerals. Aatchim paints on both sides of the silks, often layering multiple paintings in one frame, and utilizes light as a medium filtered through the surfaces to illuminate her compositions as if they are suspended in space.
Through her rigorous study of material, Aatchim’s works reveal a strength in vulnerability that gives voice to the traumas of womanhood, such as postpartum depression, imposter syndrome, mother-daughter relationships, and sisterhood. Ironically, the use of transparent surfaces allows for Aatchim to covertly embed these challenging explorations behind comforting and quotidian still lifes. To further her illusions, Aatchim repurposes her stereo blindness—an inability for one to perceive the world three-dimensionally—to create uncanny see-through imagery that intimate memories, as the layered images shift and change from different vantage points.
The title Can Day See Me? pays homage to Aatchim’s relationship to vision and sight, and playfully incorporates the mispronunciation of “they” as “day” due to a Korean accent—demonstrating an empowering lucidity that carries throughout the exhibition. Moreover, the question recalls a fundamental understanding of humanity—how we see, how we are seen, and how we remember differently.
Joeun Kim Aatchim (b. South Korea) earned an MFA from Columbia University in 2017, and has received fellowships at Triangle Art Association (2021); Lighthouse Works (2021); The Drawing Center (2018); Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture (2017); and Nida Art Colony (2015). Aatchim has exhibited work at Harper’s, East Hampton, NY and Los Angeles, CA (2021); Asia Art Center, Taipei, TW (2021); Make Room LA, Los Angeles, CA (2021); Flowers Gallery, London, UK (2020); Ochi Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2020); Visitor Welcome Center, Los Angeles, CA (2020); Rubber Factory, New York, NY (2019); The Drawing Center, New York, NY (2019 and 2018); SBC Galerie d’art contemporain, Montreal, QC (2018); Long March Space, Beijing, CN (2016); The Jewish Museum, New York, NY (2015). Selected public collections include The Perimeter, London, UK; I.C. Bates Museum, Lewiston, ME; and Fondazione Imago, IT. Her work has appeared in Artforum, Artillery Magazine, and Hyperallergic, among other publications. Aatchim lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.