• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 444


    Price Realised  


    (Born in 1963)
    Steel Powder Paintings
    two mixed media, steel powder, cotton, poly glue, wooden frame
    90 x 179 cm. (35 1/4 x 70 1/2 in.) & 114 x 173 cm. (44 3/4 x 68 in.)
    Executed in 2005 & 2006 (2)

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    Using steel powder, Kim Jongku provocatively creates works of a variety of mediums. He embraces photography, installation, painting and sculpture to form the most effective demonstration of his socio-cultural reflections and aspirations. The use of steel is significant because it too, is the core structure of modern buildings and represents modern society's extensive progression in architecture as well as engineering. Perhaps slightly disillusioned by the modernity of the vertical growth and height of buildings and society, Kim breaks down steel bars into powder, purposefully taking a step back to create a 'horizontal' work that summons a reexamination of the history, culture and arts of Asia in the past. In the similar way traditional paintings and calligraphy should be appreciated for its content and its void, Kim uses the steel powder to create space and air for the everyday viewer to escape from the harsh environment of overpopulated cities.

    The long horizontal chromogenic print (poongkyoung work) deceptively resembles a dark sky with mountain peaks which hover slightly above the clouds and recedes indefinitely poongkyoung (Lot 445). The viewer cannot help but feel that he or she is floating, in silence and peace with the environment and inner self. Despite its resemblance to a landscape, it is in fact a ground level view of steel powder calligraphy as featured in his other works. The works Steel powder painting (Lot 444) are perhaps more representative of the transition between steel bar and powder, vertical and horizontal that Kim's paintings strive to embody. As the powder, cannot be acutely applied to accurately applied to a canvas as brushwork can, the steel powder calligraphy moves and leaks in abstract ways. This script of Kim's works is delicate and unstructured; the free moving forms comforting and beautiful in contrast to the alternative structural steel. Kim has taken a single theme of calligraphy and shown us that the words written and thus the representation of modern society can be escaped by observing his works from an alternative perspective. From this different viewpoint, the words can become mountains; the lines can convert into wide open spaces for contemplation and reflection.


    I am holding the white flag - Kim Jongku, exh. cat., National Arts Studio Gallery, Seoul, Korea, 2004, p. 44. (illustrated)


    Seoul, Korea, National Arts Studio Gallery, "I am holding the white flag - Kim Jongku"2004.