Myeongbeom Kim is a creator of sculptures and installations, where man-made objects such as balloons, candles and glass are combined with nature to instill life into every object he constructs. In a recent show titled Breath at the Thomas Masters Gallery in Chicago, curator Young-Soo Kim comments that Kim’s work deals with ideas related to Hylozoism, that is, the philosophical belief that all material things possess life. In fact, Kim does not only speaks of life, but also about it’s fleeting nature.
In an Untitled installation, Kim creates a levitating tree using red balloons. Only the tree’s roots and bare trunk are visible. Void of any leaves, Kim uses balloons to infuse life into an otherwise dead natural object. Most of Kim’s installations are also fleeting, as the helium-filled balloons die down, the work is deconstructed as well. In another Untitled installation, Kim constructs what appears to be a huge lightbulb and inserts a sunflower inside. Combining an object most representative of technology and man-made light such as the lightbulb with a flower that needs natural light in order to survive, Kim presents us with a visual representation that dichotomises the natural with the artificial.
With a deer taxidermy, leaves and branches, the artist creates another installation that relates to the themes of creation, the natural and the man-made. In it, the deer’s antlers are replaced with tree branches that extend out into the space. Contrary to his ephemeral installations, in this one the artist seemingly freezes a moment in time where, intervened with the hand of man, nature seems to converge with itself in an unpredictable way. Through a plastered covered balloon, the sculpture titled Belly Button, Kim seems to be telling us that the artist is a creator of things, a god-like figure. Perhaps it is only through art that ordinary objects vibrate with life, where the unnoticed aspects of contemporary life are awakened.
Myeongbeom Kim was born in Seoul, Korea. He holds an MFA in Sculpture from The Art Institute of Chicago. He has shown his work in New York, Chicago, Seoul and Rome, including the Doosan Gallery, Thomas Masters Gallery, Gallery UNO and Al Castelo de S. Severa. He is the recipient of the 2009 Smack Mellon Hot Picks, New York and the Best New Artist Award from the Around the Coyote 2008 Fall Arts Festival, Chicago.
Images provided by the artist
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