Photography Between the Sheets

Photography Between the Sheets: Love Hotel Series by Grace Kim
by Kelsey Keith
Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul 3 - 2008 - Love Hotel seriesNew York native and SVA- and ICP-trained photographer Grace Kim captures the seamy underbelly of human relationships with her stygian, monochromatic images. Series like “Loveland,” One Night Stand,” and “Love Hotel,” the latter shot in clandestine pay-by-the-hour hotels in Seoul, explore “residual tension between the presence and absence of the anonymous couples” and force an abstract narrative onto brief moments extracted by a 35mm lens. Click through for more images.

Besides creating evocative, pristinely composed photographs, Kim’s work has a slight whiff of danger, as she shoots people and places that are outside the norm in South Korean society. To explain the “Love Hotel” project, she says:

“Love hotels in South Korea are commonly known to be where lovers go to carry on secret affairs. I was given access to photograph the rooms of a love hotel in Seoul after couples had checked out and before the rooms had been cleaned. Korean culture has many rules and formalities that have always felt very restrictive to me, so I was intrigued by the idea of being where I shouldn’t be and observing things I shouldn’t be observing — remnants of love affairs that were presumably forbidden as well. Absence of color, like the absence of identity, extracts the bed from their original context and realism, leaving space for personal projections and imagination.”

Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul 4 - 2008 - Love Hotel series

Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul (2008 ) from the “Love Hotel” series, courtesy of the artist.

Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul 6 - 2008 - Love Hotel series

Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul (2008 ) from the “Love Hotel” series, courtesy of the artist.

Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul 5 - 2008 - Love Hotel series

Grace Kim, Anonymous, Seoul (2008 ) from the “Love Hotel” series, courtesy of the artist.

Works from the “Love Hotel” series — including three 40″ x 60″ prints – will be on display at Melanie Flood Projects through October 7. Under the Glass Bell, A Dream is photographer Grace Kim’s first solo exhibition. The gallery is open by appointment only; email for more information or attend the opening on Wednesday, September 9, from 7-10 pm.

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