Translucent, otherworldly figures appear floating in soft-hued, limbo-like spaces, each expressing a distinct mood or psychological state. These delicate portraits form part of an ongoing series by Seoul-based artist Tae Kim which explores the heightened emotional experiences of the gaming world and complex notions of identity and ownership within this realm. Although the characters are all based on players that Kim has encountered herself, she has no knowledge of their real-life physicality and uses data collected from their online interactions to imagine them as complex, emotional beings. <Faceless Gamers>, the title of her first solo exhibition with Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, plays on the idea of a ‘sitter-less’ portrait to investigate contemporary forms of image-making and communication.
As a self-described digital native, Kim has long used avatars to create different versions of herself in order to interact with others within the virtual realm, often forming lasting friendships. She cites her participation in the cyber funeral of a player who passed while playing an online game in 2007 as a turning point of her artistic practice when she began to question ‘the relationship between the body and the hyperlinked soul.’ Rather than positioning real and digital personas in opposition, she began to imagine an organic, harmonious fusion of these different states of being, a kind of spiritual meeting in a fluid space freed from geographical, social and cultural boundaries.