한숨 | brea[d]th of han by mihyun maria kim

한숨 | brea[d]th of han

mihyun maria kim

September 14 to November 30, 2023

Opening Reception: September 23, 5-7 PM (artists present)

September 28, 29, 2-5 PM Readings and activation of exhibition space by the artist during Korean Thanksgiving, Chuseok
October 14, 2-5 PM Garden Offering: collective imaginings
November 23, 5-7 PM Readings and activation of exhibition space by the artist

mihyun maria kim’s multimedia project titled breath of han 한숨  (generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts) highlights a kind of metaphorical fragility using a provisional interior architecture.

The exhibition, showcasing installation, video, and performance art, is organized by John B. Aird Gallery, director/curator Carla Garnet in conjunction with the artist.

It will be open to the public from September 23 to November 30, 2023, with four public engagement offerings available, as listed above.

Kim’s emotionally evocative project features a variety of elements, including, sound, translucent hanji walls, large unfired earthen vessels, small but fragrant beeswax urns, inherited organza and silk garments, found/recovered objects, home movies and more.

The artist combines these components infusing them with ritual ceremony and contemporary performance art to mirror a sense of being of one place and another, and not really being of either, but somewhere in between. And as such, Garnet argues, Kim’s art practice goes beyond narrative revealing the temporal aspect of life.

mihyun maria kim writes, “With one breath in we come into life, and with one breath out we pass away. What exists between is the repetition of a rhythm, sometimes noticed and at other times hidden. Han can cause a break in rhythm, released as breath held, an uncontrollable gasp or a sigh of longing. Han is an untranslatable Korean affect associated with historical unresolved grief, separated families, and loss of collective identity. It is an accumulation of intergenerational trauma, which in the North American context has been sustained by suspended assimilation and dislocation/migration. Through relational methodology, the in/visible limits of its translatability are revealed/concealed. The Brea[d]th of Han brings inherited and multiplied objects, ritual in repetition, sound/video, and artist activations together in a temporal installation as outcomes of an ongoing research-creation process.”


mihyun maria kim is an interdisciplinary artist based  in Tkaronto/Toronto (CA), researching un/translatable affects of transmitted postmemory, gaps in collective narratives, perception of time, and the residual impact of unresolved historical trauma. Suspended feelings of loss, longing and grief are explored through methods of relationality. The visible outcomes take the form of poetry, painting, video, audio, site-specific installation, performance, activations, community- based round tables and public art.

Recently, maria was announced a finalist of The Kingston Prize 2023, took part in The Power Plant Emerging Artist Network (‘22-23), and completed a research-based response project at the Gibson House funded by the Toronto Art Council (‘21-22). Having participated and worked for artist residencies– at La Napoule (Cannes ‘22), Artscape Launchpad X OCAD U (‘22), Gladstone House (‘22), AKIN X Collision Gallery (‘20), the Mississauga Living Arts Centre (‘19-20), Pilotenkueche (Leipzig ‘18-19), AIRGentum (Sevilla, ES ‘18), Can Serrat (Barcelona ‘15, 17-18), and CAMAC (Marnay-sur-Seine ‘17)–her work has been in multiple group exhibitions, with solo shows in Toronto, Leipzig and Seville. maria holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design and a BFA in Drawing and Painting, both from OCAD University.

The artist would like to acknowledge funding support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Government of Ontario for their support.”