Maxi Kim, One Break, a Thousand Blows!

One of a series of nine carefully commissioned bodies of work, Stewart Home chose One Break, A Thousand Blows! as part of a historical tribute to a previous tendency to choose more difficult, less obvious texts, highlighting the more non-commercialized, avant garde tendencies of the mid-twentieth century’s Beat Generation or the somewhat tedious constraint-based Oulipian dialectics. This novel—like many bubbling up in this millennium—is tainted in a good way, clouded with previous literary influences, wary of outright acceptance by a quaint populace. One Break can be frustrating, for it could be interpreted that Kim does not care whether or not the reader hears the joke or the punch line. A drum roll doesn’t always lead to humor, and humor is sometimes far from appropriate.

Perhaps, Kim’s stomach twists and writhes from the sometimes prevailing literary arrogance that comes with being, in part, a Los Angeles based creative writer, for it could be interpreted that the text is a mockery of traditional narratives, with protagonists misaligned, fact and fiction conflicted, where idolatry is seemingly confused throughout his searching and observant histrionics. Blocks of text yell and demand your attention—even if you do find certain matters or famed artistic references impudent, suffering yet endearingly silly:


It’s becoming difficult to maintain one’s sensitive side—the world grows thick with heartaches, flourishing with distractions. Kim is sensitive to your needs as a reader, in that he isn’t going to force feed you the same familiar lines, he isn’t going to give you what you expect, he isn’t going to pretend that the usual hoopla will work for you. Kim understands that some readers today are tired, so tired of being duped, trapped into repetitive scenarios, petty literary tricks or pushy, writerly convoys.

Kim isn’t going to dumb-down his overtly sexualized, occasional pornographic references for your sake, yet he won’t ignore matters of the heart: such as love, poetry and beauty—even if you do sense his skepticism or youthful rebellion. In an attempt to transcend something perhaps better left unnamed, this writer expects you to tag along for the ride. Try not to look back at all of the second rate conventions he just shredded and bashed. It could prove worthwhile to observe Kim’s forthcoming literary trajectory; he might have plans for the patient readers, even if enough aren’t yet interested in his manifestations and effacing antics. What once seemed pedestrian is now pushing metaphysical; what once remained secular waxes the spiritual. Kim has invited you into a domicile of dire questions (i.e. What is it to be narcissistic? Where is the ”real” real? WHAT DO I TRULY DESIRE? HOW DID I BECOME MYSELF?) though he probably does not expect you to agree with him on what provides a useful rejection or release in and from the text itself. What Kim asks of you might be: what’s left after the tide sweeps you away—what remains tangible, deserving?To see the review in context, click here.

Edgar Cleijne & Ellen Gallagher, “Better Dimension”

Edgar Cleijne & Ellen Gallagher
Installation view. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

Presenting collaborations between Dutch artist Edgar Cleijne and US artist and filmmaker Ellen Gallagher, ‘Better Dimension’ at Stockholm’s Bonniers Konsthall includes experimental works that provide socio-political commentary on US history and race relations from a cosmic, obscure distance. More »

Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA1)

Aslan Gaisumov
Aslan Gaisumov, People of No Consequence, 2016.

For the first Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art, curator Katarina Gregos has chosen to view Latvia as ‘the center of the world,’ where other regions and nationalities become satellites. This is refreshing, for the Baltics have previously been considered to have a peripheral status. More »

Johannes Heldén, “The Exploding Book”

Johannes Heldén
Johannes Heldén, Clouds, 2017.

As one enters the space temporarily designated for Swedish artist and poet Johannes Heldén’s The Exploding Book at Konstakademin’s in Stockholm, one detects that Heldén is receptive to nuance; each creative gesture confirms his dedication to both text and image, expressed with equitable consideration. More »

Malin Gabriella Nordin, “Floating from Within”

Malin Gabriella Nordin, Veil of Dreams, 2017. Image: Gallery Steinsland Berliner.

Stockholm-based artist Malin Gabriella Nordin is one of many Swedish women artists who resort to the basics – or perhaps the old ways, meaning they’re not particularly interested in the digital. More »

“Survival Kit 9”

Andris Eglītis, Laboratory of Poetic Research, 2017. Image: Jacquelyn Davis.

The 9th edition of Survival Kit is orchestrated by a small team of Baltic and Scandinavian curators: Jonatan Habib Engqvist, Solvita Krese and Inga Lāce. All possess a background in organizing independently and within the confines of institutions, which may be their strong point—their fluidity. More »

The 9th Momentum Biennial

Jenna Sutela, Sporulating Paragraph, 2017. Image: Momentum 9.

Momentum 9, taking place in the industrial town of Moss, Norway, is being curated by Ulrika Flink, Ilari Laamanen, Jacob Lillemose, Gunhild Moe, and Jón B.K. Ransu, who together represent the Scandinavian region. With this biennial’s focus on ‘alienation’, the curators joined forces to determine how alien processes and entities are infused in our lives through technological, ecological and social transformations. More »

Klas Eriksson, “Vet din mamma var du e?”

Klas Eriksson
Klas Eriksson, Evidence of Patchwork, 2017. Image: Göteborgs Konsthall.

Swedish artist Klas Eriksson has developed a practice rooted in examining subcultures via works in public spaces and spontaneous performances. With an interest in how power flows and how crowds function, the artist attempts to unpack sociopolitical dynamics using playful tactics. More »

Lovisa Ringborg, “Night Remains”

Lovisa Ringborg
Lovisa Ringborg, Fountain, 2017. Image: Cecilia Hillström Gallery.

In Lovisa Ringborg’s second exhibition at this gallery, the artist upholds the argument that displaying a set of harmonious works can be more potent than a plethora of free-floating entities. More »

Przemek Pyszczek, “1989”

Przemek Pyszczek
Przemek Pyszczek, Public Relief No 6, 2016. Image: Gallery Belenius.

Polish-born, Canadian-raised, Berlin-based artist Przemek Pyszczek displays new works which are primarily sculptural and mixed media, with stints into collage. More »