Foreword by Frank Lei



Though I have to write the foreword before this installation work is presented, the artwork already exists in my mind’s eye: it has long been crafted by the hands of the always hardworking artist Kim Soonim out of her meticulous work attitude ― I have no doubt about that.

And I discover, an appealing artwork is always attributed to a conscientious artist.

I still remember how I met Soonim at Openspace Bae, in Busan. It was a quiet morning. Upon hearing someone preparing breakfast in the kitchen, I looked out the window and found a slight girl having breakfast outdoors. She looked very independent and it’s quite a rare scene. She then introduced herself, telling me she just arrived yesterday, would stay here for a couple of months as an artist-in-residence. Later I saw her catalogue showing some of her stunning large sized works created in the natural environment, including a big circle – an outdoor installation made up by hundreds of natural stones, and a work constructed of several hundred branches, said to be removed from a forest in another place. These works are intended for her dialogue with nature.

Recently Soonim has been invited to Ox Warehouse for an artist-in-residence program. From our chats I came to know that she was born to a rather traditional big family. Growing up in a mountain village, at around 12 she became deeply interested in art and was determined to become an artist. Later on she entered a famous woman’s university in Seoul, where she took an art diploma course. Yet her family did not understand her choice, to such an extent that her father had not spoken a word with her for entirely three years. Later, perhaps moved by Soonim’s persistence, he took the initial to break the ice and communicate with the daughter.

Today young artists may never lack the opportunity to present their works with ever more exhibitions being held. Nevertheless, it takes courage and perseverance to be able to move other people through artistic creation and present in a natural and unique way one’s own discovery. It is exactly this kind of perseverance that Korean artist Kim Soonim attempts to convey to us through her artwork.


Frank Lei