Yoon Jung Kim Silver Ore Activity
February - March 2019
“In the past couple of years my work has focused on geology – working with rocks and minerals and investigating geological environments and processes. Combe Martin with its rock beds formed in the Devonian period and historic silver mines was an ideal location for connecting my work to the geological and human history of the region.
My interest in minerals developed during a residency in Austria in 2016. I became fascinated by mineral samples – how their crystalline internal geometries formed determining their physical properties in a way that felt fundamental to understanding time and process. My work there centred on grinding and polishing quartz samples into spheres. Earlier this year I participated in a residency in Scotland where I smelted copper from malachite samples. These were cast into small spheres and hammered flat to make discs. In both cases these objects were then displayed with the relevant embroidered dresses and process records.
I have developed a process based methodology that broadly involves: making a dress to be worn when performing a process; sourcing materials and developing process in response to the environment; documenting time and activity meticulously and embroidering dress with relevant pictograms and information; then displaying resulting object, dress and documentation.
In preparation for this residency I made a smock-dress to be worn and embroidered there. I became a member of Combe Martin Silver Mine Research and Preservation Society and participated in events there, investigating underground and collecting small samples.
Physically being involved with processes and materials is a big part of my practice and documenting how much time I spend doing this has become a natural part of my practice too. Documentation could take the form of video, photography, written document/spreadsheet and embroidery. (For example, for my recent ‘Copper Activity’ I weighed and measured 30 pieces of malachite; after smelting, I weighed and measured 30 lumps of copper; after melting and making copper into round balls using a bullet mold each time I weighed and measured; with 51 copper round balls, I hammered them to make 42 copper discs which were then weighed and measured; I also timed myself while I was smelting.
My interest in geological time has informed much of my recent practice. For example the ongoing work ‘hexagon activity’ has involved visiting the Giants Causeway and observing columnar jointing formed in the Palaeocene epoch. More broadly my work has always featured geometry, numbers and patterns alongside a thorough documentation of time. This connects strongly to ideas of deep time, processes and structures of which are revealed in geology.
These two videos below were shown as part of 'Mineral Sphere Activity.'
Yoon at Combe Martin silver mine (photo: Gary Dennis)
Yoon Jung Kim’s diary of her residency in Combe Martin and its silver mine