Il-Jin Atem Choi at Galerie Heike Strelow, Frankfurt am Main.


The first solo show „Are You a Ginger?“ of Il-Jin Atem Choi at Gallery Heike Strelow aims at presenting a concentrated overview of the complex working practice of the artist.

Sub and underground culture and their artistic products in music, film, and literature, have been utilized by the artist as an alternative way of reading, experiencing, and deconstructing the social context in which he lives. His aesthetics is influenced by elements and processes, which are initially deduced from miscellaneous underground cultures (Graffiti, Comedy ect.) and then elaborated on and transformed into new visual material.

Atem Choi is interested in the process of transformation and its visualisation – it is precisely at this point where the potential of his works occurs. The underground roots of the ginger are exemplary for a rhizomatic pattern of growth. The rhizome is a philosophical concept used by Gilles Deleuze and Fèlix Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, as a metaphor for a model of thinking and alternative way of perceiving society and culture. The rhizome structure expands only horizontally and in a non-hierarchical way, it has no beginning and no end and can spread simultaneously into multiple directions.

The work of Atem Choi is rhizomatic in character; it is non-linear, tries to escape hierarchies of form and content, it allows multiple and widespread associations and it aims at connections rather than explanations. The show “Are You a Ginger?” is also structured as a rhizome, offering a detailed and complex open system allowing direct connections to any of the exhibited works. Atem Choi is a process-oriented artist and both the structure of the exhibition and the artistic products in it, aim at outlining the status of the process.

Without any direct links to the present dependency of humanity on commodities and not necessarily as a critical response to this, Atem Choi works with a limited number of materials and facilities: paper, spraypaint, ink, resin, cardboard, polystyrene, canvas and ultimately spaces. The show will consist of paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and installations resembling a studio atmosphere necessary to visualize the way the artist works and the networks created by his works. He works simultaneously on different sites and his works extend and grow horizontally in various directions. The artist is always located in the center and so is his oeuvre, which tries to avoid any orientation towards a culmination point or a concrete end as far as possible.

The art works of Il-Jin Atem Choi are an extension of his persona and a second body of the artist; a horizontal, non-hierarchical, anarchic, nomadic, deterritorialized, multiplicious, heterogeneous body of work; resisting and challenging the vertical and stiff contemporary establishment.

Text: Adela Demetja


Il-Jin Atem Choi (born 1981 in Moers, Germany) began as a teenager to spray his artist name “Atem” in public spaces, before moving to Maastricht to pursue International Business Studies and to subsequently in 2012 start studying at the Städelschule in Frankfurt/Main in the class of professor Tobias Rehberger. He has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in Europe and the US and his works are part of various private collections in Europe.


Installation view
Installation view
Installation view
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untitled little piggies, 2014, spraypaint on canvas, 200×370 cm
Installation view
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled, 2016, metal, paper, ink, resin, 23x56x37 cm
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled-e, 2016, styrofoam, spraypaint, ink, bitumen, resin, hot-glue, 64x42x52 cm
Installation view
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled-e, 2016 left; untiled, 2016 right
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled, you had me at hallo, 2016, styrofoam, spraypaint, ink, resin, hot glue, 58x46x13 cm
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled, 2015 left; unitled-a, 2016 right
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled, 2015 left; unitled-a, 2016 right
Il-Jin Atem Choi, untiled-u, 2016 left; untitled-m, 2016 right


Il-Jin Atem Choi
Sep 10 – Oct 29 2016
Schwedlerstraße 5
60314 Frankfurt am Main