Magazine article Artforum International

Soo Kim: Pasadena Museum of California Art

Magazine article Artforum International

Soo Kim: Pasadena Museum of California Art

Article excerpt

Soo Kim's They Stop Looking at the Sky, 2006, which was shown recently in the Pasadena Museum of California Art's project space, is a set of collages made by using a computer to juxtapose found and original photographs and new drawings, printing the results on single sheets of transparent film, then mounting each composition on one of three four-by-five-foot Plexiglas panels. The recurring image is a partial overhead view of a city. The architecture suggests a range of cultures, periods, and technologies; the overall mix makes it difficult to think of it as specific to a single place. Though you wouldn't know it from looking, the two primary photos Kim worked from are shots of Istanbul, a city that's already a hodgepodge. Ragged apertures in many of the buildings allow for interior views, though it's unclear whether this is a trick of the artist's or the result of a disaster or attack.

All three collages share the same angles and planes, the same few people, and many of the same small details. But if these elements provide the basic structure of the compositions, the ways in which Kim fills in the gaps make up the works' substance. In the left-hand panel, walls are often replaced by Moorish-looking black-and-white geometric patterns. In the right-hand panel, things are even more radically displaced: The city appears about to disintegrate. The central panel, punctuated by luminous white spaces--blanks that leave it an unfinished puzzle--looks relatively stable at first. …

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