Jiyeon Kim

Berlin-based South-Korean Artist

01.01.2020   - 31.03.2020

Jiyeon Kim is a South-Korean painter based in Berlin, who explores ways of representing the individual in our digital era. Most of her works use acrylic paint, and combine elements of abstraction with realism in a fragmented way to portray individuals. She is inspired by how human emotions can be depicted in a contemporary way, with a focus on the ways in which our attitudes toward depictions of the face and figure have changed with the rise of technology. Kim says that she has been interested in drawing and painting portraits since she was a child, but began to wonder how she could construct new interpretations of people through portraiture, rather than merely reproducing their appearance.

As Jiyeon Kim describes,

Portrait painting spans across all generations of art styles. It unfolds and reveals social dynamics, ideology and customs of the respective period. In this way, portrait painting is both the most timeless and subjective discipline in art. During the recent past, the possibilities to visually represent ourselves have never been greater. We all draw our own portraits in real time and they are constantly evolving.

Jiyeon Kim, Artist’s Statement
Portrait of Berlin-based South-Korean artist Jiyeon Kim speaking about her work, sitting in her atelier.
Jiyeon Kim speaking about her work in her atelier.

Kim previously completed City of Singles – Portraits of Tinder, a series of 50 acrylic portraits of people she found on the dating app Tinder, changing their names and ages in order to distance the paintings from the individuals they were based on. Her interest in how we represent ourselves on social media drives her to question whether the photos we post on Tinder, Facebook, and Instagram might be revealing deeper subconscious desires. Though she represented the individuals in her painterly style, each face in the series remained recognizable. They were painted on 50 x 50cm square canvases, and most figures were cropped at the shoulders to focus on their faces. She used mainly muted shades of blue, grey, green, and occasionally red, contrasted with blank white backgrounds, bringing the entire focus on the individuals themselves.

For her latest exhibition, After the Flood, taking place at SomoS exhibition space from March 18th until March 21st, 2020, Jiyeon Kim will move beyond straightforward portraiture to explore more complex ideas about the ways in which we interact with the internet. Taking inspiration from the flood of images and news articles that streams over our consciousness everyday, Kim creates collage-style paintings of stacked disparate elements, combined in a single canvas. The paintings are a visual representation of the fragmented pieces of photos and articles that remain in Kim’s mind after browsing the internet, blended with her own memories and thoughts to create a composition that contains both elements of truth and fiction. Through the filter of our own minds, which are presented with endless information every day, stories become distorted and altered. Kim’s work seeks to visually represent this distortion.

About Jiyeon Kim

Kim completed her BFA at SungKyunKwan University in Seoul, and attended the Innenarchitektur Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaft und Kunst Hildesheim until 2015. She has held three solo exhibitions in Berlin, participated in several group shows in Seoul, Leipzig, and Berlin, and participated in the 2016 “Art…Essenz” artist’s fair Berlin. She has previously taken part in the GlogauAIR program in Berlin, and was nominated for the EB-Dietzsch-Kunstpreis in 2018.