Artist: Im Jibin
Friedrichs Pontone presents an exhibition by Korean sculptor, Im Jibin. The artist is known for his trademark ‘Bear’ motif, a toy-like, schematic figure which can be reproduced in a multitude of colours and surface finishes, as if it were a commercial, branded product.
There are a variety of iterations at various scales: some are simply heads, some whole and some free-standing. Most are designed to hang on a wall and are carefully arranged in regimented groups reminiscent of the enticing displays of the retail world.
Jibin also works with large, inflatable versions of his bear. These he places in public spaces to provoke intriguing juxtapositions and interactions. He is keen to introduce his work to those who may not normally enter an art gallery and seeks to engage such an audience with playful and surprising interventions in a variety of architectural settings, from the humble and everyday to the grand and monumental. This he calls his ’Everywhere’ project. The gallery and its immediate environs will be hosting two of his signature inflatables.
The artist often speaks of consumer capitalism and its promotion of ‘insatiable appetite’. His practice evokes related ideas of production, promotion and acquisition. The seductive nature of his sculptures and the arrangements of his exhibitions and installations conjure up scenarios of material desire. Satisfaction appears to be guaranteed until the next version of the bear is released - a sensation which is familiar to all in the hyper-commercialised, developed world. This artist makes clear that the art market is, apart from its cultural concerns, very much a market, subject to all the familiar wants and perceived needs of its participants.
Im Jibin delves into the contradictions of making ‘objects of desire’. There is real aesthetic satisfaction to be had from experiencing and owning a collection of his cute and cheerful bears, but the artist writes a subtext that suggests the attempt to sate the ‘insatiable’ is impossible.