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40 INTERVIEW Hun Kyu Kim

Hun Kyu Kim

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ntricate narratives twist and weave through Hun Kyu Kim’s large scale works painted on silk, which combine traditional techniques with contemporary themes. Defining himself as a storyteller, each new work connects with fragmented and scattered histories, tangled and mixed together. Alongside his paintings the artist works with taxidermy as an extension of his imagined world, mirroring the anthropomorphic scenes where mice battle in suits of armour in the shadows of fang-bared snakes. Having studied Oriental Painting in Seoul, he completed his MA in painting at the Royal College of Art, and is currently based in London. Last year amongst group and solo shows, his work was exhibited at Freize Art Fair.

Your process embraces both the traditional and contemporary, both in your techniques and subject matter; can you tell us more about how you paint and the materials you use? I studied BA of Oriental Painting at Seoul National University where I was trained as a restorer for ancient religious Korean painting. Although it is painstakingly time and labourconsuming I was so impressed by traditional images of ancient Eastern Asia painting that I have trained myself the special technique over a decade during my school years. Basically, I draw on silk with traditional oriental pigment based on natural resources such as mud, stone powder and plants, which were used for old Eastern Asian religious paintings such as Buddha’s portrait you might find in the British Museum. I make use of the tradition as a contemporary practice by borrowing diverse skills from several East Asia

countries such as China and Japan. Although my works are based on traditional technique, narratives in my painting share a contemporary pop culture in a harmonious manner. I make strange but subtle and beautiful stories about an imaginary world, combining a beautiful atmosphere from traditional oriental painting with contemporary political discussions to bridge between the past and the contemporary. Each of your pieces has a distinct narrative, and you’re wonderful at telling stories through your work. How do the pieces fit together, is it all part of one big narrative, or can each painting stand alone? Several narratives in a painting are mixed together, making another narrative. Several paintings are also gathered together in a space, constructing a huge imaginary world I created.

Inside Artists - Issue 12  

All artworks in their finished state are vast and multifaceted. Sometimes the layers are physical. Paint upon paint, built up and scraped b...

Inside Artists - Issue 12  

All artworks in their finished state are vast and multifaceted. Sometimes the layers are physical. Paint upon paint, built up and scraped b...

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