Since 2015, Kyung-Me (b. 1991, lives and works in New York, NY) has explored the architectural structures of the subconscious and the ways in which images, objects and memory are intertwined to conjure complex and spiritual spaces. Working predominantly in ink, Kyung-Me creates drawings of labyrinthine spaces that trace the alluring and malevolent nature of entrapment frameworks. The invisible architecture of entrapment—from the familial and societal to the spiritual and psychological—piques her interest.

Pivoting from making drawings of parallel projection to mapping a perspective that produces mirror effects along the centre, Kyung-Me created for the exhibition “Sister” in New York in 2022 a suite of eight lavish drawings set in two distinct institutions: a monastery, and a geisha lodging home (okiya). The drawings feature female figures that are as solemn and paralysed as the shrouded chambers, exquisitely embellished to expose the uncanny organic that disrupts and crumbles. New York-based writer Hiji Nam observed: “These are scenes of innocence and corruption, faith and vanity, with the transformation of a female subject portrayed through human figures or anthropomorphized instruments and architectural features. They are also a repetition and articulation of the artist’s own conflicted relationship to desire and the rigorous demand for perfection, and pose a question of historical specificity: Who mothers?”

For “The House in the Trees” at Kiang Malingue in 2023, Kyung-Me further complicates the haunted anti-ruins by carefully arranging the rooms, juxtaposing Eastern and Western artefacts, relics, curios and furniture pieces from different periods. Named after respective centrepieces—The Mask, The Doll, The Bonsai, The Shrine, The Corridor, The Clocktower, The Slumber, and The Dollhouse—the rooms are meticulously catalogued. Behind Frank Llyod Wright Sliding Doors is a Meiji Era Tansu Storage Cabinet containing a Noh Mask; a Korean chest is adorned with a Thai Buddha statue illuminated by American Art Nouveau Tiffany lamps; Victorian fretwork is placed in front of a Chinese lacquer cabinet, found in which are Ludwigsburg porcelain plates and a Russian nesting doll; a Nigerian Odudua helmet mask stands atop a 19th Century Edward William Godwin Octogonal Table—the radically eclectic, anachronistic drawings of excess explore horror vacui as much as claustrophobia. By redefining time as eternity in deterritorialized, isolated spaces, the exhibition attests to a perpetual gravitation that simultaneously attracts, repels, rejects, and deserts.

Kyung-Me graduated from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in 2018. Her work has been collected by the Whitney Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art and Magasin III. Recent shows include: “Sister”, Bureau, New York, NY (2022); “Introverse: Allegory Today”, 80WSE, New York, NY (2022); “Liminal Spaces”, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin, 2019; “Coniunctio” with Harry Gould Harvey IV, Bureau, New York, NY (2019); “Poor Thing” with Sydney Shen, Hotel Art Pavilion, Brooklyn (2018); “Copy Kitty”, Selena Gallery, Brooklyn (2017); and “Bad Korean”, 17 Essex Gallery, New York, (2016).

She is the author of two books, Copy Kitty, published by 2dCloud (2020) and Bad Korean, published by Spaceface Books (2016). She also teaches undergraduate and graduate students at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Pacific Northwest College of the Arts.