Hanna Shim

Born in Seoul, Korea, Shim is an Auckland-based artist. Working across a range of media including watercolour, oil, clay and fabric, Shim’s practice contains qualities of playfulness and childishness both in her process and visual outcomes, her works often talk about naivety with a sinister undertone. 

I had lunch with my auntie and her two year old son, Jono.
My auntie was feeding him, but I guess it wasn't enough for him.
So Jono, with his fork, poked auntie's bare thigh and tried to stand up to reach for
more food on the table.
Auntie groaned in pain.
And I didn't know whether I should laugh or be concerned.

J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan once said, "Children are gay and innocent and heartless.".
But, the real cruel thing is that, we can't blame these tiny, little, cute, innocent creatures.

They are too cute to be blamed.
They are too cruel to be innocent.

Contemporary societies are experiencing a new phenomenon, such as husbands in their forties who spend hours playing video games, young adults who watch cartoons and obsessed with collecting toys and vinyl figurines. In fact, the postmodern adult is now characterised by an unprecedented infantilist nature.

I found this figure of infantilism adult or also named as kidult is archetype of an encouraged regression to facilitate the promotion goods. Especially Japanese consumers are fanatical with cute kitsches. Japanese Neo-Pop artist and follower of Andy Warhol, Takeshi Murakami produces mass production of his art work in to "cute" stuffed toy. I have always been attracted to the promotion of desire through cute imagery, objects and language. There is something inherently attractive in the perversities generally associated with cute things and the suspension it evokes when explored as an aesthetic form people generally see cute as a device to exploit something external to itself, probably because advertising try companies but I'm sure it goes back much further. "Cute" offered a freedom to evade seriousness or even reality.

Earlier, psychologist Donald W. Winnicott introduced the concepts of "transitional objects" and "transitional experience" on reference to a particular developmental sequences. - for example, a child who is attached to soft blanket or soft toys. With "Transitional", Winnicott means an intermediate developmental phase between the psychic and external reality. In this "transitional space" we can find the "transitional object"/ Transitional object is a replacement of mother's breast and through the object it instils in the child the feeling of worth living.

As Japanese artist, Yoshimoto Nara depicts nostalgia and his childhood with sinister undertone through his work, he idealises his past memory and the reality becomes even more cruel. My work contains lack of identity and ambivalent characteristic, and it suggests the in-between status of kitsch and art, cute and cruel. It is to create a space between laughter and discomfort where viewer's discomfort can also make them laugh, and viewers become confused about the mixed feelings. I think that is what makes some of the best art.


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