Minyoung Kim

Minyoung Kim (b. 1989, Seoul) currently lives and works in London, UK. Her recent exhibitions include at London Grads Now: Saatchi Gallery (London), Taymour Grahne Projects: The Artist Room (London) and Aout Gallery (Beirut).


Kim works primarily on unstretched canvas, painting freely without the burden of conventional canvas frame to contend with. She is particularly influenced by myths, folktales, fairy tales, and poetry. These narratives all spur uncanny and inventive imagery that speaks to an unconscious world. The ambiguity in Kim's paintings reference an emotive place where the balance between danger, mystery and the whimsical are explored.


Kim says ‘Irony is fascinating to me, and also, the ability of painting to evoke laughter, which is not considered in painting as often as it should. The bizarre and eerie emotions that reflect inner state are better realized in juxtaposition with humour. Happy, sad, serious, light - the flickering between these states, are very human, very authentic to our physiological experience’. Fairy tale toned colours build an atmosphere in the work, making precarious, anxious-filled situations seem even more elusive and confusing. Yet it is quaint, animated details that dissipate the sombre moments and allow the viewer to situate themselves in the paintings.


Repeated emblems in Kim's work include crescent moons or creaturely cats. These symbols are more than markers of popular culture, they are insignia to hazy, spiritual nights that have become timeless throughout folklore, poetry, books and film. Kim seeks out the deepest of moments and revels in their wunderkammer capacity to spark profound, sometimes even melancholy sentiment. In many of the paintings obstacles lie in wait, and these act as hurdles for the quest in transcendency. Kim's characters can also be viewed through a humorous lens, take for example her painted cats, with their greedy mannerisms and observational haunch providing a satirical edge. It is here the cat becomes a vehicle to communicate Kim’s own cynical outlook on modern society and interaction.