Hansol Kim at Het Nieuwe Instituut

Artist: Hansol Kim 

Exhibition title: Anatomies in Limbo

Venue: Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Date: December 5, 2020 – January 24, 2021

Photography: Pierre Castignola / images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam

Driven by Hansol Kim’s persistent fascination with clothing, Kim takes a research-led and personal approach to reconfigure the definition of wearability. His sculptural objects lie at the intersection of garments and furniture, as they contest typical features of each field and ask to be considered as a completely new category of their own.

Kim’s current research is prompted by the tracing of symbiotic evolutions between furniture and garment designs through the lens of Korean and Western European culture. Through four sculptures, he investigates and compares the distinct design traits of Korean clothing and traditional Korean furniture, with Western European military war devices and common mass-produced furniture from Europe.

Wide sleeves on a short length traditional Korean jacket, or the low furniture that was developed to suit underfloor heating systems in Korea, are fused with juxtaposing elements of European military devices, such as the English one-man tank from 1917, or popular furniture pieces, which are now considered universal designs due to globalisation. By wedding the domestic function of furniture with the mobile use of clothing, Kim prompts us to explore behavioural patterns and lifestyle expressions of the originating cultures of objects. Ultimately, his new in-between objects encourage us to consider living in a more communicative manner alongside our objects, as we re-examine concepts of mobility, multiplicity, adaptability and flexibility while maintaining a reference to cultural contexts.

Hansol Kim is an artist born in Seoul, South Korea in 1988, and is currently based in Eindhoven.

Kim’s relentless fascination is focussed on clothing, which he collects and often finds as origins for exploration in his projects. His intrigue has led him to investigate the role of clothes within societal, political and cultural issues, as well as their form, as he uses shapes, aesthetics, movements, languages and his personal fascination of clothing as a medium and trigger of his works. His key aim is to try to achieve new relationships between humans, clothing and spaces.

Projects that Kim has made explore the intersection of different object categories, as he creates literal extensions of bodies and identities. His methods result in formations that mimic material and analogue possibilities of what is commonly experienced with solely virtual reality. His approach complicates and simplifies the experience and relationship to the objects simultaneously, as the final objects resemble something that has been turned inside out, making evident the disruptive complication of the in-betweenness.

Kim sustains his work process by engaging with projects that are open-ended and unfamiliar. This allows his work methods to develop in space as something dynamic and adaptive, while he continuously reflects and questions himself and his surroundings.