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Yongjae Kim was born in Seoul, South Korea and is currently based in New York. He completed his B.F.A at Seoul National University in 2011 and M.F.A. at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 2014.
Kim has since exhibited internationally at Galerie Mokum (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Dubner Moderne (Lausanne, Switzerland), The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (New York, USA) and amongst others. Kim is currently a member artist of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Studio Program in New York.
Yongjae Kim, The Corner of Melancholy, 2014, Oil on linen, 81.3 x 81.3 cm
Yongjae Kim, Temporary Life, 2019, Oil on linen, 50.8 x 40.6 cm
Speaking on the visual manifestation of his experience living in the city of New York, Kim says " Living with unknown neighbours there, I myself become anonymous neighbour to them. They and I exist, and yet do no exist simultaneously in a psychological sense. In my painting, there is nobody inner and outer buildings ostensibly. The silence of residents evokes my imagination of unseen people and their absence. Between the sense of presence and absence of the neighbours, I paint the invisible, formless, and hidden somebody who is expected to be there through one's traces in the landscape."
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Kim's representational paintings depict mundane urban places that exude a sense of solitude, desolation and melancholy. Speaking on his practice, Kim explains "I paint my psychological landscape that is based on the actual places in my neighbourhood. My attention is drawn to the mundane residential environment, which represents disillusioned urban life behind the luxury of city."
Kim's paintings are often devoid of human presence, creating an environment that seems both familiar and unfamiliar at once. "I see the distance between the windows on the facade, which substitute for invisible residents. As places where physical distance is inverse to the psychological distance among neighbours, residential buildings seem to represent human relations in urban society that shares the attribute of individualism. Ironically, in this structure, one can be anonymous despite the physical closeness among them."
Yongjae Kim, Grace of the Mundane, 2017, Oil on linen, 20.3 x 20.3 cm
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