Siyeon Kim explores women’s domestic burdens at Art Basel Hong Kong

“Daughter, wife, mother, and artist.” According to the Gallery EM in Seoul, these are the common universal roles filled by women that Korean artist Siyeon Kim focuses on in her stark photographs.

The toll of success at wearing each of these hats, however, can cause wear and tear on most women’s mental and physical frameworks, as evidenced in Kim’s works displayed at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014. Featuring salt cones, and salt and soap mosaics, elaborate installations are created inside her home and then captured in photos. One example in the School of Visual Arts graduate’s “Barricade” series (2008) incorporates beautiful elements such as stenciled soap and salt flower patterns on a wooden floor. A corner of the room is captured with the pattern left unfinished: a symbol of a woman constantly creating who just needs a break from the daily pressure?



However, not all of Kim’s photos are as complex as her “Barricade” series. In her “Yellowish” series, one image consists of a book topped with a head of garlic and a spoon, all teetering precariously on the edge of a table.  Another features a teacup full of empty broken eggshells, also balanced on the edge of a table. A third, which sold at the show, depicts an inflated opaque plastic bag and half an eggshell at intersecting table ends.  The dangerous perch of these objects could very well indicate the struggles faced by a woman – or someone she knows – in attempting to stay on top of a variety of experiences and situations.