“We are governed by size, material, color, and form when we analyze objects... What’s more, these factors are themselves invested with their own implicit political innuendo.”
Gimhongsok's (b. 1964) work is devoted to exploring the arbitrary nature in the way humans assign value to an object. What determines implicit value? Who is drawing the lines, and how is the scale weighed? These are all questions raised by Gimhongsok's work. He attempts to humanize artificial conceptions while highlighting the inequities, politically-driven, and superficial opinions that hold dominion over the public sphere.
Born in Seoul in 1964, Gimhongsok graduated from Düsseldorf Kunst Akademie in Germany after obtaining his BA in Fine Arts at Seoul National University. His recent solo exhibitions include Xijing Is Not Xijing, Therefore Xijing Is Xijing at 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2016), World of Xijing at National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2015), Blue Hours at Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2014), Good Labor Bad Art at PLATEAU, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2013), Ordinary Strangers at Artsonje Center, Seoul (2011), and as part of his Xijing Men collective he has presented I Love Xijing-Xijing School at Spenser Museum of Art at the University of Kansas (2013), and Xijing at the Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice (2011).
Gimhongsok has also participated in numerous noted group exhibitions including The Street, Where the World is Made at MAXXI, Rome (2018), Altering Home at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa (2018), The Other Face of the Moon at Asia Culture Center, Gwangju (2017), Space Life at Ilmin Museum, Seoul (2015), All You Need is LOVE: 10th Year Anniversary Exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2013), Korea Artist Prize at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (2012), the 9th Gwangju Biennale (2012), the 10th Lyon Biennale (2009), Your Bright Future at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2009), The Fifth Floor at Tate Liverpool (2009), Brave New World at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis(2007), the Korean Pavilion in the 51st Venice Biennale (2005), and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003).
His works are included in many prestigious institutions including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, the National Gallery of Canada, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Le Consortium, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, and the Seoul Museum of Art.
Step inside the playful studio of Gimhongsok. The artist sat down with Tina Kim to discuss his recent practice, inspirations, and the future of art made during the pandemic. Surrounded by—and at times inhabiting—his character sculptures, Gim touches on the jovial nature of his work. But beneath the humor, is a careful examination of the ethics of contemporary conceptual art practice, and an exercise in balancing the use of comical characters as commentary on social issues.