Artist interview: So Young Kim

Four You Gallery
July 5, 2021

Work in progress - So Young Kim

FYG: What does art mean to you?
SYK: Art is the way I fit into my environment.
The way people see, feel and accept the world around them is different, and that difference makes the world exist.
There are many spectrums in art, too, with different themes, different mediums, and different stories to tell. I believe that these differences create the art world and artists communicate with the audience through it.

FYG: From what do you draw inspiration?
SYK: We live in an era where products/ commodities are mass produced. In this way, discarded objects are inevitably produced.
I use these discarded objects, especially their fragments and debris, as the source of my work.
It is because they are objects in unstable and incomplete state, they have endless potential.
So, I felt that these incomplete objects that captured my attention were sufficient in value to be used in my works.

FYG: How did you come to develop your own style?
SYK: When I make art, I play with my objects. I emphasize the characteristics and colors of each object, sometimes combine different objects, and delete or transform unwanted parts.
Through many manipulations, the use value it used to have or characteristics that it had before are all lost and a new object is born.
These new objects seem to lead the way in creating my style.

Installation view - So Young Kim

FYG: Which artists influence you?
SYK: Recent artists would be Michael Dean. I was impressed with an exhibition called Garden of Delete.
His bold display of his artworks, almost like a garbage dump, was shocking but very refreshing at the same time.
Also, Hito Steyerl a German philosopher and an artist, her views on image as object Which is to put image and object at a same level has heavily influenced the way I approach my practice for this show.

FYG: How did you come to choose the exhibition’s title: “Things Like Image, Image Like Things”?
SYK: The title comes from the new approach I took for this show about ‘Things’. Things here refers to objects that do not serve its’ functional purpose.
After reading some articles by a German philosopher Hito Steyerl, where she claims that images should be seen as object and not emblems of objects, I started my work with images of things rather than the actual things. And my experimentation and exploration on object has also shifted to digital.
So, the image of ‘Things’ really played a big part in my work this time.

From Left to Right: So Young Kim-“Role Play, IMAGE”, 2021-Acrylic on canvas-100 x 100 cm- “Role Play, THING”, 2021-Acrylic on canvas-100 x 100 cm

FYG: What do you intend to convey to your audience?
SYK: When the audience first encounters my work, they comment on the intense colors. The next question to ask is what are the things on the canvas?
The viewer whose intention is conscious or not, try to attain new meaning for the thing displaced.
They get satisfied once the object is again placed into a bracket in which it sits comfortably and makes sense.
The moment they ask, what is this?
It proves that those objects on my canvas stand alone on their own.
And people don’t know that these objects come from discarded, fragmented things that are separate from functional objects. That is the direction I wanted and I want my audience to see these objects as they are.

FYG: What techniques do you use? Can you talk a little more about your process?
SYK: Previously I would collect real objects from my surroundings but this time I took photographs of these objects. So these Objects which are converted to image format are manipulated with photo editing platforms such as photoshop, illustrator and Lightroom.
Through these editing programs, objects are manipulated. They are partially deleted, erased, exaggerated in size, or deformed in shape.
After many manipulations, the object no longer looks the same as it was. And When I am satisfied with the way it looks, then I transfer these on my canvas.
In terms of materials, I use tape and fluids to create the deleted effect and I usually work in acrylic mediums because it dries faster and it is available in neon colours. Which I often use in my work.

So Young Kim in her Singapore Studio

FYG: When do you know a piece is done?
SYK: I feel that the piece is done when my objects on canvas are able to interact with each other and sit comfortably.
For some works, I see the space and structure around the object as part of it.
So, I stop when I feel that adding more stuff to the canvas makes the whole thing interrupted.

FYG: Tell us how you became an artist
SYK: Art was one of my favourite subjects since I was young and I took up art as one of my subjects throughout my school life.
My mother always encouraged me to do what I love to do.
I guess taking my career as an artist was what I always wanted.

FYG: What is your own perspective in life?
SYK: I would say, don’t follow what others do, do something unique and original.

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