HOFA Gallery, London

Exhibit runs 6th October and runs until 22nd October 2022.

The South Korean mixed media artist Ilhwa Kim, will bring to London a brand-new selection of artworks created in the last 2 and a half years. ‘Real Life Architecture’ is a collaborative curatorial project which will centre around the artist’s philosophy and purpose for creating. More than 20 large panel artworks will be featured in this latest exhibition.

Ilhwa Kim’s abstract works are powerful works made up of thousands of ‘Hanji‘ paper seeds, the inherent dynamism of which creates works of art that shift between painting and sculpture, delivering art as a new experience of discovery, dynamism, and intrigue.

Color Steps Ilhwa Kim 164 x 132 x 13cm1
Color Steps, Ilhwa Kim (164 x 132 x 13cm)

About the exhibition

This is a body of abstract artworks representing true life without the limitations of senses, exploring the liminal space between human perception of existence and the true state of reality. Kim’s abstract works are powerful artworks made up of thousands of ‘Hanji’ paper seeds, the inherent dynamism of which creates works of art that shift between painting and sculpture, delivering art as a new experience of discovery, dynamism, and intrigue.

‘My seed works contain the dialogue between our senses and the tactile world surfaces, dreaming to be the monument of our sensory architecture. ‘ Ilhwa Kim

Ilhwa Kim’s works from 2022 strongly suggest that you take advantage of the opportunity to absorb the evolution of our tactile senses and manifest the system of experience. The works in ‘Real Life Architecture’ are a reminder of the gap between everyday senses and their constant betrayal toward the next evolution.

EAT LOVE SAVOR® had a moment to chat with Ilhwa Kim to find out more about the artist and her work.

HOFA artist Ilhwa Kim stands in front of her work HOFA Gallery
Artist Ilhwa Kim

When did you discover your passion and calling as an artist?

I found I was reborn as an artist when moving from painting to sculpture 12 years ago. That was the moment I landed finally on the right track tailored to my own fingers, body, and character.

When moving from painting to sculpture, I wanted to do everything I was able to use in painting; even brush strokes and all the wide color paints. But I’d like my works to have a far stronger life presence in the physical surroundings as a unique architecture with live quality, rather than the flat static painting hung in the wall. When I discovered the ‘live quality’, it was the moment I found my mission will never end until I die. The ‘liveness’ of my sculpture gives viewers quite unique experience, not experienced in other artworks. Such a tactile surface carefully crafted in close distance becomes extremely painterly surface in mid distance view, but finally turns out as enormous vast canvas full of little architecture in the long distance.

Where did the idea for the ‘seeds’ come from and what in your view do they represent?

When exploring the potential methods of paper medium in various ways, there was a moment just tens of rolled paper pieces were on my work table. As soon as I saw the cute and clear distinction between exactly the same shape of rolled paper units, I did not even have to name or discover; it just appeared.

They were ‘Seeds’ already, with the shape of biological seeds. All seeds have enormous growing potential to become a presence unexpected. Looking at each shape with the versatile potential, I did not even have to think.

For me, ‘seeds’ represent our own growing process, from the unknown basic unit of simple hard surface to the sudden growing up into the plant, and becoming the big enormous tree spreading its own seeds again. I think Seeds became another presence they never expected in advance. We always dream or hope, but we never become what we dreamed or hoped exactly. Along the way of growing, we learn and become just another presence.

Life Architecture Ilhwa Kim 2022 164 x 132 x 13cm 1
Life Architecture, Ilhwa Kim, 2022 (164 x 132 x 13cm)

What do you do to spark your inspiration, fire up your passion and refresh your artistic soul?

Whenever I can build up new things with my own fingers, I and my ten fingers become so connected with the world around me. It is not the logical thinking in our brain or imagination, but the tactile sureness between me and the world surface around me. The tactile sureness might quite similar to the hard surface of my seeds. I’m so obsessed to explore what will come next to the tactile sureness.

Many paper or textile based artists finish their works in gradual steps and the process cannot allow sudden bold turns out of initial sketch during the production steps. Our studio runs the process in a complete opposite way.

In order to give complete freedom during all production stages, all paper units stay completely unglued until final completion. They can be freely rearranged or removed or replaced whenever there needs be. This working process gives big freedom to make meaningful changes even when very close to the final stage. Simply, that is how a child plays as well.

This freedom remains very important. The working process has to betray artist’s practical intuition in a way.

The process for your art is very involved, your use of Hanji paper, the way it is molded into these seeds, laid out in a landscape with great dimension, beauty, richness of expression and delicate use of colour. Why Hanji paper and what do you like about using this medium for your artistic expression?

If the work does not surprise me, it surprises nobody. In order for the surprise to be working, then the process has to encourage it, the challenge unexpected in advance. Other usual heavy sculpture material did not attract me due to the slow process to make a sudden change during the working process.

In case of paper medium, I can assemble and organize whatever ways taking no additional time. The process was like applying cosmetics on your face with quite different moods everyday. Or when it becomes wild, it must be like composing a jazz improvisation piece. You do not know the destination exactly, but you keep getting closer to the final closure by touching all the elements there.

My seeds’ various architecture shifts color and texture following the change of its surrounding and the distance of the viewer. The curious architecture bringing life to the images with all the changing light and shade.

Usual sculpture pieces keep you away in a certain distance to experience, but my tactile sculpture work invites you to come very close to the surface.



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