brilliant 30: Yongkwan Kim
Proposing a Whole New Perception of Our World
Yongkwan Kim’s Proposal for Avant-Garde Parallelism
Art is a mirror which reflects, in part, the inner world of the artist. The foundation of Yongkwan Kim’s work is his artistic worldview, formed by personal intuition and logic. However, Kim does not deliver his views in a forthright manner; understanding the artist’s work calls for the use of one’s imagination. Not all masterpieces can be interpreted rationally. In fact, it may not even be necessary to persuade anyone of the significance and value of a given artwork. Kim proposes art that proves its existence by provoking these sorts of questions in viewers’ minds. The young artist perceives the world by rejecting all values established under an abusive, vertical, justified structure. He picks apart rules that we accept at face value, rearranges them in smaller units, horizontally, then reconstructs a whole new visual structure. Through this process, Kim creates artistic thought experiments addressing skepticisms such as ‘What are the alternatives to what we see as justifiable standards?’
Yongkwan Kim’s representative series of work <QUBICT> intentionally eliminates the single perceptive of our ‘world,’ which exists to maintain particular order and hegemony. The artist proposes a whole new dimension of space by including both 2 and 3-dimensional aspects in one frame. Furthermore, Kim instigates interruptions, visually, by eliminating the normal rules of perception and shadow in his work. In this way, his work suggests a ‘new thought process’ or ‘new angle’ against what we commonly accept as general or customary.
For Kim, contemporary art generates pleasure and imagination, not unlike the first time he discovered the ‘delightful’ essence of art. His work is an extension of his experimental spirit and a visual proposal for an open structure, system, and space.
Q. Please give us a brief introduction to your work.
A. My work is a thought experiment employing various artistic platforms and subjects derived from my worldview. I visualize my worldview by applying variations on these thoughts to each work. I do not believe in the inevitability of products and results. I regard attempts to change the world by denying or deconstructing existing values as abusive; this act of denial is the rejection of those who advocate these values - it causes hostility that ultimately results in conflict and dispute. I cast doubt on the structures justified by such rash, violent means; and this skepticism acts as a clue in shaping my body of work. With this doubt as a basis, I am interested in rearranging vertically-justified structures into horizontal formations. I break down well-known, commonly-accepted standards, and then randomly reassemble them (this is one of many methods for substituting structures in society). Through this process, I discover the standard units and patterns that compose the structure; my work is the rearrangement of these rules to form a new structure.
I view the world as work in progress - with certain rules discovered by chance, and units of structure having been stacked up step-by-step. So, I create small modular units, randomly stack them up, discover new combinations, and rearrange the units in order to visualize these structures in my body of work. - Yongkwan Kim -
Q. Your artistic worldview seems to act as an important operating system in your work. I’m curious about how this worldview is manifested as subjects for art with regard to your working process.
A. Every single piece of my work is rooted in a solid artistic perspective, encompassing various levels. My worldview is manifested in every art piece, varying in shape and form. Every now and then, there are gaps between the planning stage and the final image. I acknowledge my limitations and lack of preparation in accounting for variables that could arise in the experimental process. Despite these outcomes, I consider the process of making art as the most important stage in my work. I view the world as work in progress - with certain rules discovered by chance, and units of structure having been stacked up step-by-step. So, I create small modular units, randomly stack them up, discover new combinations, and rearrange the units in order to visualize these structures in my body of work.
Q. Could you describe one of your popular series of work, QUBICT?
A. The title <QUBICT >is a combination of qubit (the basic unit of information in a quantum computer that enables the computing of binary digits) and the adjective form of cube, cubic (symmetrical three-dimensional shape of six equal squares). Hence, QUBICT illustrates the paradoxical attributes of both the 2-dimensional and the 3-dimensional particles. <QUBICT >commands a wide-ranging perspective in order to create a structure that encompasses single and multiple perspectives. From a human point of view, objects placed in front of us appear larger than those behind them. Such parallel pathways of the visual system influence our values and the way we view our world. It dilutes our discerning priority and importance; and we begin to accept social standards without question. Through my work, I want to eliminate what we accept as normative standards. I achieve this by eliminating the rules of perception, shadow, and depth of field. The result is an ambiguous image that does not exist recognizably in our physical world.
Q. Was there a special occasion that caused you to become an artist?
A. Growing up, I always wanted to become a comic-book artist. I experimented with my work in order to differentiate my comics from other graphic novels. Naturally, the characteristics of the comic-book genre demand close attention on both visual and written literacy. For a long time I had a vague thought that ‘Some day I’ll pursue this path.’ Upon graduating from college, I broke up with my girlfriend and thought, ‘So what if I’m a little poor? I want to do what I want to do.’ With this in mind, I eventually quit my job and began to create art. I began going down the path of an artist rather than a comic-book artist because the work I was creating at the time, Syllabrick, was sculpture dealing with concepts of visual and written language. I consider this as my debut piece - my ticket into the field of art. I felt a peculiar sense of achievement through my first exhibition, and had the desire to create art similar to this line of work. This explains how I came to become an artist, but I have not given up my dream to become a comic book artist. It’s still in the planning stages, but my next series of work will be in the form of a graphic novel.
Q. What is the seed of your imagination?
A. I’m influenced by multiple channels and platforms in my life. Among them, I am artistically inspired the most by books. That does not mean I am dependent solely on books. My father was an instructor on literature, which gave me ample opportunities to cultivate an affiliation to books. Rather than the act of reading itself, I am more inspired by phrases I stumble across, or the overall ambience of a novel. Sometimes, a book’s cover design and the table of contents are enough to stimulate my imagination. These are the sources that inspire my work.
Parallax Viewport. 2010. Acrylic on canvas. 182 x 182cm
Qubict Parallax Viewport. 2010. Acrylic on canvas. 182 x 182cm
Histoglyph. 2010. Acrylic on canvas. 145 x 145cm
Vanishing Viewport. 2012. Acrylic on canvas. 200 x 200cm
A Clock Composed of Figures with Their Numbers of Sides in Aliquots of 12. 2012. Animation. 28min 48sec
Yongkwan Kim acquired his BFA in Printmaking at the College of Fine Arts, Hongik University, Seoul, Korea. His work has been on exhibit in over 4 selected solo shows such as <SAMPLE SPACE>(Insa Art Space, Seoul, Korea 2013), and over 9 selected group shows including <Use Your Illusion>(Space K, Daegu, Korea, 2014) and <I Love Seoul>(North Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, 2013), to name a few. Yongkwan Kim participated as Artist in Residence at <Studio M17>(Makeshop Art Space, Paju, Korea, 2014), <MMCA Goyang Residency>(National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Goyang, Korea, 2013), <SeMA Nanji Residency, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea, 2012), <Gyeonggi Creation Center>(Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan, Korea, 2010)