The Korea Herald


Kim Seong-heui exhibition portrays contemporary individual

By Shim Woo-hyun

Published : Oct. 10, 2018 - 17:06

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A solo exhibition of works by Kim Seong-heui, an artist and oriental painting professor at Seoul National University, will open Friday at Chosun Ilbo Gallery in Seoul.

Titled “Constellation Link-Transparent Human,” the exhibition will comprise some 30 works by the artist. 

“Constellation Link-Transparent Human” “Constellation Link-Transparent Human”
“Constellation Link-Transparent Human” “Constellation Link-Transparent Human”

Kim uses traditional mulberry paper for her paintings, putting together three to four pieces of mulberry paper before she paints to create a background with a unique texture and color.

Upon the thickened mulberry paper, Kim paints using a brush soaked with natural dye made from the fruit of the alder tree. The process of extracting color from the fruit is time and labor intensive, but Kim uses the natural dye because the color has a more natural appearance, according to the artist. “The gold-ish brown is the color of the ground, where we all return,” Kim says.

Kim also uses Chinese ink to draw lines.

Presented on the canvas are shapes of people. Upon closer look, however, the images of persons disappear and clusters of stars appear. The star clusters are connected by black lines.

The people within Kim’s works are those living in contemporary society. They are individuals whose identities become more and more transparent or ambiguous. They are people losing grasp on themselves due to constantly interfering external forces. They have been taught to pursue fame, fortune and other endeavors, only to find themselves being effaced.

The painting of a person standing with his hands in his pockets reveals a moment of self-awareness. The figure walks slowly -- perhaps soon to stop -- and reflects on himself.

The recovery of individuality is the hope that the artist wants to relay to the audience. Her works aim to ask viewers whether they are ill-content at the cost of losing themselves. At the same time, her paintings soothe observers with the warm qualities that come from the texture of the paper and the color of star clusters.

The exhibition at Chosun Ilbo Gallery marks her first solo show in five years. It runs through Oct. 21.

By Shim Woo-hyun (