Critics’ Picks

View of “Kiss & Fly,” 2014.

View of “Kiss & Fly,” 2014.


Chosil Kil

31-14 Bukchon-ro, Jongro-gu
September 4–October 4, 2014

Chosil Kil is an artist who prefers encounter over explanation. The press release for “Kiss & Fly,” her first solo show in her homeland of South Korea, begins: “You are a braver lover in your second language.” Fluency allows feelings to be obscured by more nuanced vocabulary.

The gallery entrance provides visitors with an immediate view into both the lower and mezzanine floors of the split-level space. The steps to the lower level are blanketed in pink rose petals and palm-sized statuettes of frogs, potential princes alternately dashing, plucky, and absurd. Inside the lower gallery, a trio of stacked white blocks loom like icebergs, luring the viewer in for a closer look. As the viewer approaches, he or she is showered with petals by a performer stationed on the balcony. The piece is called Yours, Febreze Brothers (all works 2014), a title that slaps hygienic concerns on a scene that could otherwise seem straight from fairy tales. Kil’s spell has been cast.

The mezzanine belongs to the visual palliative of Ducks and Drakes, a congregation of coral-colored helium balloons anchored in place using rubber-banded stacks of one hundred coins. Other, loose coins litter the floor, giving the space the feel of a wish pond. The floating assembly flocks around one of Kil’s series of “Doubles,” a wall-mounted sculpture whose anthropomorphic small aluminum circle perched atop a large leather panel ends up looking like some kind of flaneur there to admire the ladies. The staging is repeated with slight variations on the first floor. Applying a kind of visual precision to whimsy, Kil proves her mastery over form, but lets the question linger: Is it love or just beginners' grammar?