May 04 - June 17, 2017

Galerie Paris-Beijing is delighted to present Amphibology the second solo exhibition of Seoul-based artist MyeongBeom Kim from May 4th to June 17th.


1. (Noun) From late Latin “amphibologia”, ultimately from the Greek “amphibolos”, where ‘amphi’means ‘on both sides’, ‘bolos’ means ‘throw’ and ‘logos’ means ‘word’. Literally ‘throwing words about on both sides’, or ‘mixing up words’ and hence ‘ambiguity’, double or doubtful meaning esp. from uncertain grammatical construction.

Synonyms: amphibologia and also ambiguitas

E.g. Wanted: chair for an old man with wooden legs

Amphibology  presents a series of new works issuing from a succession of mental connections and distorted memories related to the artist experience of his surrounding environment, bringing a psychological perspective to the perception of the most common artefacts.

The title refers to a figure of speech generating an equivocal meaning, a linguistic doubleness: “when a sentence be turned both ways, so that a man shall be uncertayne what way to take” (Abraham Fraunce, Lawiers Logike, 1558). As a Shakespearean Mercutio, playing cleverly on the double meaning of ‘grave’: Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man (Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 1 line 97–98).

Ambiguity of expression is not only the result of certain choice of words within a semantic construction. Even the unexpected juxtaposition of visual elements can lead the viewer to the same deadlock. In communication theory, while facing a double bind situation, the subject is caught between two conflicting inputs. On a logical level, he is confronted to an unsolvable dilemma. However going beyond the conventional correspondence of words and objects, as intended by the Surrealist movement is not the aim of MyeongBeom Kim’s practice. His intent is more to investigate the multiple ways surroundings can be perceived and interpreted by establishing a private dialogue with everyday objects. Like projections of an existence other than the one the objects were intended to have, Kim’s installations condense and reinvent forms and functions revealing the hidden significance of the futile, like a burning candle planted in the middle of an empty lawn.

This gap between our intellectual expectations and visual experience staggers us. How to react to the view of a stone, which seems to be imprisoned in a perpetual concentric motion ?

In Kim’s poetic of the absurd the rules of common sense have no longer place. Is this an attempt to escape normality or a will to see the objects and their connections otherwise? The residual memory or their initial function slowly fades out, a new meaning is acknowledged. Kim’s aesthetic is rooted in ambivalence: the unexpected association of natural and artificial elements leads inevitably the viewer to a metaphorical dimension.

The installation Merry Go Round is perhaps the most heterogeneous assemblage of Kim’s parallel universe: a taxidermy deer is placed on a rotating platform along with a fire extinguisher, a door, a stone, a mirror, and other prosaic items. Childhood reminiscences of joyful theme parks are tangled to an ordinary adult-life feeling of anxiety like to gently emphasise at once the lightness of being and the vulnerability of our existence. In Kim’s cycle of life (and death) everything coexists, danger and safety, darkness and light, happiness and anger. Natural phenomena do not fight against fate, they barely try to adapt themselves. Kim’s reiterated use of balloons is rathersignificant of this paradox: these inanimate objects, brought to life by the artist’s breath, finally found themselves trapped inside an open cage. In Wish boat a fishing boat is destined to drawn into the sea under the weight of a meticulously constructed rack of stones, usually symbolising a place for meditation.

After having found the source of his work in epistemology, the philosophical theories of Knowledge, MyeongBeom Kim insinuates the possibility of doubt, providing us with an alternative point of view.

Born in 1976 in Seoul, South Korea, he graduated in environmental scultpure from the Seoul Academy of Fine Art, in 2008 he received his MFA in sculpture from the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited during the Busan Biennale and in numerous museums such as the Jeju Museum, the Seoul Art Center in Korea, the Evergreen Museum in Baltimore, USA, and the Museum of Applied Art and Design in Switzerland. In 2015 his most striking installation Untitled ( Deer), a taxidermy deer whose antlers become tree branches, has been successfully presented during Art Basel Hong Kong.