‘Playful’ digital art exhibition launches NEoN at Abertay

A playful new show by the South Korean artist Ah-Bin Shim will open this year’s NEoN Digital Arts Festival at Abertay University on Sunday 8 November.

Entitled ‘2’, the exhibition explores – with a touch of humour – the highs and lows of life, raising profound questions about the nature of human existence.

Mixing handmade artworks with animated digital sculptures and films, Shim’s multi-modal installations examine desire, solitude, friction and futility, with each of her works externalising the internal conflicts and dilemmas that are common to all of humankind.

In ‘Pendulum’ for example – part of her You & I series – she visualises the futility of trying to grasp hold of time with her video of a grappling hand forever trying to catch the swinging pendulum of a ticking clock mounted on the wall above it.

This idea is echoed in ‘Tug of War’, where a single screen shows a young man pulling with great effort on a long piece of rope. What is at the other end is revealed only with the aid of a mirror which has been placed at a 90 degree angle to show the viewer that really, the man is only playing tug of war with himself.

Clare Brennan – Curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre and one of the organisers of NEoN – explains:

“All of Ah-Bin Shim’s works reflect on real, profound issues – our anxieties as humans and the struggles we all have against our own inner demons. But they look at the absurdity of them as well and are deliberately comical – a form of light relief to these more deep and intense narratives that run through all of our minds.

“With the ticking clock for example, it’s clear that trying to stop time is completely futile, and it brings it home to us that the way we are always trying to do this in our own daily lives – to stop time, slow it down, make things happen on time and that feeling we all have of just constantly being against the clock – is also completely futile.

“With all of her work Shim combines the handmade with the digital, and the exhibition is called ‘2’ because it highlights the many dualities like this that are present in her work – inner conflict versus outward presentation, profundities versus the absurd, futility versus perseverance – all of which are woven together and married up in a way that enables her to speak meaningfully about her ideas.”

With ‘Meaning of a Straight Line’, she again represents thoughts and emotions that are undoubtedly universal: on the surface of an otherwise blank white canvas she has sewn what looks – on the face of it – like a perfectly simple straight black line.

However, being installed free from the wall it is possible to see that, on the back, Shim has stitched a complicated pattern of threads that twist and turn and intertwine, demonstrating that although life can look perfect on the surface things are never quite as they seem underneath.

Shim originally studied in Dundee, gaining her BFA in Time Based Art and her MSc in Electronic Imaging at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design between 2000 and 2004.

The works in the exhibition reflect her output over the last five years, as well as three new pieces commissioned specially for NEoN: ‘I Am Not Watching You’, ‘A Work of a Day’, and ‘The Beginning and the End of the World’ which will be unveiled at the opening.

The exhibition previews on Sunday 8 November and runs from 9 November until 12 February 2016.


For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07972172158 E: k.cameron@abertay.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

NEoN is Scotland’s only digital arts festival, and aims not only to advance the understanding and accessibility of digital and technology driven art forms, but also to influence and reshape the genre by bringing together emerging talent and well-established artists.

For details of the rest of this year’s exciting programme of events, please visit the NEoN website.


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