Kim Lieberman is a conceptual artist that honours concept above medium. Lieberman completed her undergrad degree at Wits Tech in 1997 and her MAFA at Wits University 2001. She has had eight solo exhibitions at galleries that include the Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg), Mark Coetzee Fine Art Cabinet (Cape Town), Camouflage Art. Culture. Politics (Johannesburg), Esso Gallery (New York), and Gallery AoP (Johannesburg).
She has also been on numerous group exhibitions including Love Lace at the PowerHouse Museum (Sydney); Shaman Showman (Esso Gallery New York), After the Diagram (White Box Gallery New York), Twenty (Appalachian University, North Carolina) and local exhibitions such as HitchHiker (1997); Navigating the Bookscape (2006), Social Pattern (2009); Nirox Sculpture Park | Winter (2014)...
Presently Lieberman is working on three installations, two are permanent public sculptures - both run the length of a street (Human Intersection in Maboneng and Royal Block in a township outside Graaff Reneit), and the third is a sculpture for ConHill, Johannesburg.
Lace. Post. Puzzles. Money. All part of ancient or antique traditions. All attract human interest and are collectable. Kim Lieberman has re-established a different connect with them, using them in a subversive context and shifting the content of how they read traditionally.
Yet, it should be noted, that she does love the facts of their history. As the history is what brings a deep, secure and embedded concepts that they contain. Which form the base for the concepts for her own works. Although sometimes diverging completely from their normal function, the respect for their primary systems remain.
Lace is an antique craft, and also an extreme craft. It contains algorithms that sit at its core - and are probably the true reason for its attractive force. Lace is actually not light and frivolous, it's not even decorative and persuasive, and anyone who sees it as such has read it incorrectly.
In an essay titled 'Reframing the History of Lace. Lace from Europe | Lace in Africa', Lieberman examines the history of lace that is at once societal, political, economic, technical and beautiful. A grouping of elements not often seen together.
Lieberman has learnt to make lace in the traditional way of bobbin lace-making, but designed the 'pricking', or base pattern used to prick the pins into - into a more contemporary aesthetic. Taking advantage of the intelligence and knowledge that comes from the lace-making world of old, and using it in a more relevant situation, for this day and age. From this she has made a few different bodies of work that are all within the genre of Lace.
Post, a system of human communication has been the mainstay of Lieberman's work for twenty years. The postal system, envelopes, perforation residue but particularly postage stamps have been the medium that she has carried her conceptual interest of the cross culture of culture. The essence of how we influence each other is within the sphere of communication. And post is that element of communication that can go everywhere. Travel by human hand and human system throughout the world, to places far afield that often it would be impossible for a person to go there, be it for reasons of danger, political unrest or other diplomatic reasons. Post can still get in.
Puzzles re-iterate this concept of many individuals in one system. Money, also is hand to hand passing, weaving it's way from person to person, picking up their dirt and carrying that residue with it. The work which is most pivotal in this body of works is 'Softening the Edges'. This work is both socially responsive and socially responsible, yet although it responds to a daily need, it still hangs on the ladder of art. The residue Lieberman presents in these works is a documentation of the process.
In Lieberman's 2003 Every Interaction Interrupts the Future catalogue she talks about the rupt that happens all day every day in our lives:
'I have a fascination with the consequences that follow a single action. I allow myself to dwell in the sheer wonderment of the simplicity of this notion, the reality of effect. Yet despite this simplicity it evades our perception. The exact unfolding consequence of an act cannot be traced. At most we can make crude associations between our more obvious actions - hardly realising the subtle, yet perpetual, ripple of effect that is the result of every action.
Interactions affect our movements, they take us places. Literally this can mean geographic places, but there are many kinds of pathways. Looking at the acute nuances of different paths we take, the smallest decision can determine a different life. We cannot always know which decision rendered us here now, or where the multitude of different decisions we didn't make would have taken us. But somehow, being conscious that there are a myriad of possibilities we could choose, makes our actions seem less casual and more causal.
The contribution of each movement can be pivotal in each life, which in turn will ripple through all lives.'
Years later, and different of mediums later, Lieberman still explores responsibility, generosity, social response - basically human's impact on each other across geography and history be it Afghanistan 1994, Africa now, the middle east 1967, the Amazon jungle 1992...