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Kim Kang Yong : Boundaries Between Reality and Image

Kim Kang Yong

The Columns Gallery is pleased to present “Boundaries Between Reality and Image” a solo exhibition by Kim Kang-Yong, a renowned Korean artist, who is known for his captivating exploration of the relationship between reality and image. His artistic expressions often revolve around ordinary objects and landscapes, which he transforms into unique and thought-provoking creations. One recurring motif in his artwork is the depiction of bricks, which serves as a metaphorical representation of the boundary between the real and the v

Installation View 1

During the 1970s, Kim, along with other contemporary painters, focused on meticulously portraying everyday objects. He skillfully depicted unconventional subjects such as cobblestones, railroad tracks, and wall surfaces, emphasizing the sense of place and its conveyance through art. This approach extended to various subjects, including studio interiors, grassy fields, and urban landscapes, where he highlighted surface textures, surreal compositions, and intricate renditions of painting tools.

Sand became a significant component of Kim’s work around 1976. He collected sand from the beach, sifted it, and spread it on canvases, creating textured surfaces that blurred the boundaries between painting and objet d’art. In subsequent years, he experimented with other materials such as loess and kaolin, using them to fashion simple shapes reminiscent of ink in Eastern paintings. However, it was in the late 1990s that Kim’s focus shifted towards bricks, which became a prominent feature in his paintings. This transition led to his international recognition.

Installation View 2

Kim’s paintings of bricks challenge the viewer’s perception of reality. Although they appear remarkably realistic, they are, in fact, virtual representations. The artist employs shading to skillfully create the illusion of bricks, relying on the interplay between light and darkness to convey depth and texture. Shadows play a vital role in understanding his work, as they define surfaces, create divisions, and provide the impression of bricks protruding or receding.

While Kim’s paintings are often labeled as hyperrealism, he rejects this categorization. He considers his bricks to be illusions, emphasizing that they serve as subjects expressing his artistic world. Kim’s artwork revolves around themes of repetition and formativity, showcasing his ability to generate tension and balance through the repeated use of identical forms. He places great value on order and symmetry in his compositions, as any deviation would disrupt the overall harmony he seeks to achieve.

Installation View 3

In recent years, Kim has expanded his artistic expression by incorporating three-dimensional structures into his work. Inspired by the towering pillars of Manhattan, he transformed his flat depictions of “walls” made of bricks into three-dimensional “pillars.” Despite this shift, the fundamental concept of virtuality and the exploration of the relationship between reality and image remain at the core of his artistic vision.

Installation View 4

Kim Kang-yong’s ability to transform ordinary objects and landscapes into unique entities showcases the transformative power of art. His paintings evoke a sense of mystery and fascination, blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual. Through his artistic exploration, he challenges viewers to reconsider their perception of reality and invites them to discover the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Installation View 5, 6

The Columns Gallery

22 Lock Road #01-35 Gillman Barracks Singapore 108939

+65 9030 7647