In Imminent Archive at Rule Gallery, Marfa, George Bolster and Dong Kyu Kim exhibit exquisite textile works that examine time, displacement, and the human search for home.
Imminent Archive: George Bolster & Dong Kyu Kim
May 29–July 25, 2021
Rule Gallery, Marfa
In Imminent Archive, George Bolster and Dong Kyu Kim exhibit exquisite textile works that examine time, displacement, and the human search for home.
Bolster’s The Epic Territories of the Now Unprotected Sublime Latterly Titled American is a jacquard tapestry that covers two gallery walls and depicts an image of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The piece is lush, gorgeous, and, yes, grand. The convoluted title of the piece hints at the complicated creation and ongoing political fight over this public land. Mounted on top of this piece are several smaller tapestries of the Allen Telescope Array—a field of large radio antennae in California built to scan the cosmos for extraterrestrial life. The combination of modern technology and ancient geology alludes to civilization’s unquenchable desire for claiming space. Earth isn’t enough; we must manifest our destiny beyond it.
Kim works with themes just as intrinsic to human experience but uses materials culled from his life that one might think banal—receipts, ticket stubs, wrappers. In Consuming Memories, he uses the jogakbo style—a traditional Korean quilting technique—to stitch together ephemera he collected from 2007 (the year he immigrated to America) to 2017. Kim is a fashion designer and the composition and color arrangement of these “scraps,” as they are called in the press release, are delicate and beautiful. What results in these framed pieces is an attempt to summarize a newly Americanized life by “following the money.” There is an uncomfortable humor to this work: recycling the physical detritus of everyday consumerism for the art market’s.
Besides the similarities in their techniques and their focus on time (Bolster: eons; Kim: a decade), it is a deeper resonance that stirred me. Both artists immigrated to the United States and without knowing the circumstances that brought them here, there is a feeling of physical and temporal displacement in their work—one that syncs to the experience of visiting remote Marfa. In bringing these artists together, guest curator Jane Burke, a curatorial assistant at the Denver Art Museum, pointedly asks us how we got here (Marfa, America, Earth) and, further, reminds us that we are the living ancestors of future beings.