mon kim —arcade seoul
City buildings. Chrome. Muscular male bodies. Side by side. We’ve seen it all before, but Mon Kim has a particular and consistent aesthetic that continues to surpass his former work with chic sex appeal that captures the very character of gay masc class in Seoul.
Set at Arcade Seoul in a sleepy neighborhood of Mullae-dong, generous light fills the space, tracing lines congruent with the structured and articulate design language Mon Kim uses to accentuate the male form. He’s looking at the body from the back, by the bed, watching it curve its way postcoital for a shower. How it bends over to buoy intimacy and pleasure in the stark air of a hotel room. Think pristine cotton sheets in unfaded whites, the crinkle of the duvet to capture silence as song.
This is the first time Mon Kim’s work has been exhibited at a ticketed gallery space. Though you could value Kim’s work as commercial, there’s a clean cut aesthetic that borders high brow and low brow. This could be because of the product placement of Nowboyz underwear, and in past photography collections, underwear. It’s through high fashion and the intoxicating thrill of Jack’d profiles do we see the cross-cultural shifts in gay culture as Mon Kim has created an abundance of queer spaces in recent years. Look at the many locations of Aufglet or even Mini Han’s Mini Bar. Not only do these newly developed queer spaces create offline sites for instathots or influencers, but they’ve become a trojan horse, infiltrating heterosexual interests as well. He makes gay cool, an easy spring breeze not even the slightest vanilla-esque commoner can detect within the Hannam-dong area.
View from My Window pays tribute to Mon Kim’s love for Bauhaus and German graphic design. You can see the inspirations clearly. Stout tall buildings. The slender means of a Bruer Wassily. Even in the simplicity of chrome, something cold in demeanor but cool in modernity that fixates Kim’s own gaze when he looks at a building or a body. His eyeline matches the sight of sunlight at the tip of a glass-paned skyscraper, at the sigh a man moans in sweat-soaked seduction.
Mon Kim is at his finest, making this collection of photos his most personal in the way his influences shine through by way of the body and building as a mirror, as a ways of defying the liminal gaze of subject and object.
View from My Window by Mon Kim runs from May 14th to June 11th at Arcade Seoul.
A ticket reservation should be made at this link.