Hyun Jung Kim, an accomplished artist born in Seoul, Korea, and currently based in the DC metro area, has been pioneering a novel space in the world of art. Her innovative use of language and cultural elements, coupled with her background in sculpture, has enabled her to consistently push the boundaries of her medium. Her art not only engages the audience but also serves as a profound expression of her thoughts on humanity and society.
An evocative piece by Hyun Jung Kim, showcasing her unique incorporation of language and cultural elements
Kim's body of work presents a seamless blend of contemporary and traditional art forms. Her pieces integrate elements from her Korean heritage with her experiences from living in America. A prime example of this cultural fusion is her series titled 'Blind in Art - Love'. The series features panels layered with the word 'love' in numerous languages, including English, Korean, and Braille, thereby embodying the diverse makeup of American society.
Kim utilizes pearls to represent Braille dots in her work. The formation of pearls, which initiate as tiny irritants and are gradually layered over time by the oyster to become precious and beautiful, parallels the evolution of love in her artistic interpretation. The 'Blind in Art - Love' series began with a panel featuring the word 'love' in Korean, English, and Braille, representing Kim's life in America. It has since expanded to include other languages, with over 50 panels created so far. Each panel consistently features English and Braille, with a third language layered on top to reflect the diversity of Americans.
Hyun Jung Kim's journey into the world of art started with her inherent love for creating and drawing. This passion led her to pursue sculpture at Seoul National University in Korea. After earning her BFA and MFA at the university, she debuted with her first solo exhibition at the Kum San Gallery in 2001. Kim later moved to the United States in 2002 to further her craft, earning her second MFA in studio art from Montclair State University. Her work has since been showcased in various exhibitions across the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, and Europe.
Apart from her visual work, Kim also engages with her audience through the interactive public project 'Contemporary King'. In this project, she encourages exhibition attendees to select and wear one of her handmade crowns, each featuring different designs and words in Braille. Participants are invited to capture their 'crowned' moments, which are then shared on her Instagram account, @hjkimstudio, under the hashtag #ContemporaryKing. Through this project, Kim aims to remind people of their inherent value and worth.
Kim draws inspiration from current news, especially those related to human and humanity-related topics. She uses her art as a medium to express her opinions and engage with societal issues. Her pieces are not only visually attractive but also conceptually layered, providing viewers with a deeper understanding of her worldview.
In her future endeavors, Kim plans to delve deeper into human and humanity-related topics. She aims to continue sharing her thoughts and opinions through her unique visual language. Her ongoing project 'Humans are Jewels' is a testament to this commitment. In this project, she creates wearable sculptures and panels that remind people of their own values.
Kim's work is distinguishable in the industry for its minimalistic appearance paired with deep conceptual layers. Her unique use of Braille codes and dots, precious gemstones, and pearls add a distinct visual appeal to her pieces. Despite its minimalistic look, her work has multiple conceptual layers, which many find visually attractive and distinguishable from other works in the industry.
Kim's biggest challenge was sustaining her artist career independently. While working on conceptual development, she challenged herself to create collectable items. She expanded her focus beyond large sculptures to include smaller sizes and two-dimensional works. Her distinctive style involves using dots and codes of Braille to convey meanings in language form and to create a visually decorative and abstract look. Her work often incorporates valuable gemstones or pearls to symbolize the preciousness of the words or sentences used.
With her unique visual language and ongoing engagement with the audience, Kim continues to carve out a space for herself in the world of contemporary art. Her innovative use of language and cultural elements, coupled with a deep understanding of human values and society, ensures that her work will continue to resonate with audiences worldwide.