mee-young arkim

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Oscillating between figurative (dead birds, insect parts, plants, anatomy...) and non-figurative (blots, lines, contours lines, nets and webs, letters, numbers and signs...) I work essentially in ink on paper.

I often integrate the series of drawings, which are connected to each other in the wall configurations, meticulously conceived. I dispose sheets of various sizes, sometimes according to themes, sometimes to get a new linear form or a new composition in relation to places.


The drawings are constantly accompanied with my ephemeral installations. Combining drawings, created and found objects, plants, charcoal powder..., I create a ritual scene that borrows from forms of Applied Arts like the theatrical decor, interior design, models, showcase display, flower arrangements, calligraphy, card ... These gestures of arrangement of spaces become signs of 'politeness', respect, homage to fragile and ephemeral beings.

Concerned about the relationship between human being and their environment, interested in the communion between man and the universe, there are some political and ecological issues in my work. However it is not my objective. I am talking about life and death, the vulnerability of all things. The serene scenes accompanying anxiety finally become rituals of death.


Homage to fragile

By shaping wires, I transform it into letters, I write words on paper's fragments, sometimes wild plants' names, sometimes dead person's names. I do homage so to ephemeral life that goes by as a tiny small phase in this immense world of LIFE. It is a kind of personal ritual for the fragile being.

I do not think that some person is worth more than someone else. All beings (plants, microbes, animals, including men) should live as they are, as they are all different. Only the relation between these things is important, that is to say, between my neighbors and me, between my surroundings and me.

I must not to change things around me on my own authority. Even between inorganic matter and me, a respectful relationship is necessary. I would like my work to imbibe thoughts like this.

A temporarily installed altar in the street after an accident, an altar that is an accumulation of photographs, cards, candlelight and bunch of flowers, makes me feel strong emotions. I am interested in certain religious ceremony forms like a mortuary tablet in Confucian ritual or shamanist rite without any faith. I borrow these forms, on an aesthetic level, from my culture, northeast Asia.

I concretize my work by assembling more or less vulnerable materials like fine wires or light paper fragments. By no means do I prefer heavy to feeble, center to side, concentration to dispersion. My work fits a floating sensibility, a ventilative space or a taste for edge. As a subtle energy, from empty center to border, the aeration of the scattered space desires to breathe better.


The origin of my script may relate to the calligraphy or Asian traditional painting with an intention to induce spiritual elevation and to succeed in stroke, in one breath.

My stroke, however, derives foremost from an interior automatism. The nerve impulse brings the gesticulative line, which resembles my manuscript, inimitable. What is inimitable is the body, for my body can never be replaceable by another one. I want to read such fatality in my script: my body is never the one of somebody else.

The letter, that evokes the theme of my work, is first of all an important plastic element in the same way that diverse material fragments or drawings that I use. It is not indispensable that the scripts are always legible. They are just some indication.

Eulogy for the hand

The reference of my work is not the painting, but the craft. What I want to conceive here is one of the sources of painting, at one and the same time more radical and more common. I am a manipulator of tools and matters as I exercise my talents with all the instruments of the artisan.

Scrape, groove, encrust, cut up, bend, assemble, sew, coat... These operations connect with the gesture of hand that operates lucidly the tools and the materials. My hand reigns over my work, not my eye. In other words, I am a veritable operator of the painting, not just the possessor of the ability of the painter's hand.