Interview With Hwa Kyung Kim

   Alter Ego   Archival pigment print

Alter Ego
Archival pigment print

Could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what kind of work you make?
I’m an artist, and originally from Seoul, South Korea. I’d moved to New York to study photography and received BFA at the School of Visual Arts. I mostly work with photography in an abstract and unconventional way.

Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
Basically, curiosity about myself and human being makes me do art. So my inspiration comes mostly from ontological questions like who we are.

 Also, artwork in other media inspires me to push limitations in photography. So I love to go to museums and galleries to see paintings and sculptures. One of my most intense experience was when I saw Francis Bacon’s work at Metropolitan museum in 2009. I visited there three times during the exhibition because his paintings were so impressed and I wanted to see his actual works as many as possible. Since then, his perspective and his own way of painting have stimulated me to create my own ways in my work.


    Alter Ego    Archival pigment print

Alter Ego
Archival pigment print

What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
It’s a camera. I’m fascinated to express invisible ideas by using captured images of something that actually exists. So the camera is always at the beginning of process for my work.  

What do you feel are the recurring themes in your visual work?  
The recurring themes are “One and Many” and “Multiplicity” in various forms of interlocked layers. My thoughts are embodied in recomposed layers of visual elements-- such as objects, spaces and forms-- in work. For instance, in Alter Ego series, I investigate how personas alter the ego. For doing so, I deconstructed the woman into layers of personas and egos, and then recomposed them, so that one woman is facing, passing or surrounded by her multiple personas. 

Is there a particular artist you feel you relate to? Who are your role models (artists or non-artists)?
Few artists that I can relate to are Francis Bacon, Ann Hamilton and Frank Gehry(architect). Their works show a broad spectrum of possibilities in art, and they challenge me to explore diverse ways to express, so that my work can communicate with worlds in various perspectives.