<Zone Out: When Uncertainty Turns Certain>


Traditionally, uncertainty was deemed the realm of the divine. It was once believed that gods or fate decided our paths. Today, however, the public democratization of information has led us to believe we can choose everything. The rapid proliferation of social media has accelerated this deluge of information, creating the illusion that we are endowed with the 'freedom' to select superior options. This illusion has propagated the belief that we are moving toward a better, more prosperous future—a notion of 'choice' that appears to empower us.

Yet, this 'freedom of choice' ultimately marks us as the architects of an 'eternal hunger,' a perpetual craving that keeps us from reaching realms of stability and certainty. This hunger breeds insatiable desires within the endless possibilities of choice. On the brink, our anxiety stems more from the freedom to leap at any moment than from the risk of falling. Sometimes, this perceived freedom seems like the only escape from uncertainty.

This exhibition navigates the path from uncertainty to certainty, illustrating that although certainty is a future construct, we can never truly attain the future; hence, we continually float in a state of anxiety. Surprisingly, the method to directly confront uncertainty is straightforward. By introducing an additional axis to the two-dimensional plane of existence (the zone), we detach ourselves. This act of extraction ('out') from the zone allows us to finally wield the brush to contemplate our anxiety.

In this new dimension, we blur the boundaries between anxiety and stability through 'zoning out,' and eventually, we dissolve these barriers. The space depicted on the canvas, the Outer Zone, transcends the realms of anxiety and uncertainty without inherently carrying positive expectations. As Lacan suggests, while the self is shaped through individual choices, in an external domain devoid of choice, the self loses its efficacy. Here, we face the unfamiliar landscapes painted by a 'new self,' unblemished and raw. These landscapes—rendered on each canvas—are composites of scenes encountered by confronting an empty mirror. The illusions of uncertainty and certainty emerge from biases in choice, confirming that certainty is indeed non-existent.

The works in 'Zone Out: When Uncertainty Turns Certain' capture the moments when the boundaries between anxiety and the self are obliterated. These outer landscapes provide rare opportunities to confront the essence of our being, difficult to engage within the mundane flow of daily life. We delve deep within without reaction, merely observing the boundaries 'absently,' thereby discovering our true selves. This exhibition posits that only through the absence of certainty can we illuminate reality, thereby facing uncertainty with newfound clarity.

Artist Statement - Dongho Kim


My work originates from a process akin to 'rumination,' much like maintaining a diary where past events and emotions are drawn into the present to forge new narratives. This process is vital, as the enduring echoes of memories and the resonance of past emotions heavily influence my art. I transform these influences into paintings that transcend mere depictions of specific moments or events, aiming instead to capture a complex, multi-dimensional visual order.


Collecting and Reconstructing Memories: The subjects of my paintings—be they figures, animals, or objects—often arise from vague recollections or everyday encounters with media. I keep a lifelong habit of 'preserving' memories, collecting clear records like smartphone screenshots, news articles, photographs, and diary entries. These items are integrated into my work, but I favor recalling them through flexible mental imagery over precise, rigid documentation. This approach not only preserves the essence of these memories but also opens up new creative possibilities for my subjects.

Emotive Objects: Elements in my paintings, such as the refracted light through a window, an elderly person reaching out, or dogs in mid-conflict, become emotive objects. These intuitively transform into narrative drivers within the artwork, guiding the story through both time and space. I often focus on human figures as clear focal points to anchor the scenes.

Creating a New 'Time': By weaving together these diverse fragments, I craft a new kind of 'time'—one that is neither a chronological sequence nor a precise spatial assembly but a new order altogether. This method allows the subjects of my paintings to maintain their individual narratives while forming new relationships within the artwork.

This approach aligns with my belief that all things in the world are made of 'input and output' and 'thesis and antithesis.' Rather than exploring these concepts through academic pursuits, I prefer to navigate them through intuitive exploration and dialogue. Like our memories, which often remain as fragmented scenes, my paintings strive to imprint a sensory and realistic depiction of these fleeting moments.

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