Phil Kim

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Ceci N'est Pas Un Paysage, 2011 Sumi Ink, Gold Powder, On Kinwashi Rice Paper 96" X 38" © copyrighted © 2011
Takoyaki Western Scroll, 2011 Sumi Ink, Gold Powder, On Kinwashi Rice Paper 3 Ft X 20 Ft © copyrighted © 2011
Le Déjeuner Sur Le Kimono, 2011 Baby Oil, Galkyd, Watercolor And Oil On Canvas 36" X 60" © copyrighted © 2011
Quick Facts
Santiago, Chile
Birth year
Lives in
Los Angeles, CA
Works in
Los Angeles, CA
Laguna College of Art and Design, 2009, BFA
installation, landscape, traditional, figurative

Phil Kim

Artist Statement

“Man's native inertia is overcome only by desire, and nothing gets made unless it is desirable” – George Kubler

My current body of work, New Institutions; New Popularity, investigates the realignment of the image that provokes sensual desire and triggers objectification, transformed by Post-modern aesthetic standards of beauty; the assemblage of iconographic paintings and gender-vague figures juxtaposes different fragments of culture and extrapolates its historical context while retaining its intrinsic sensual provocation.

Desire itself is translated into my work through the mere act of me creating a desired imagery. It is the collage of these attractive objects, desired in singularity, that when juxtaposed next to one another create an assemblage of hyper-desire.

The imagery in my work challenges the traditional archetypes of beauty on which most fictional characters are created through objectification. Thus, my scrolls and paintings are populated by figures that are intrinsically ambivalent and immune to the idea of rigid gender identity—which constitutes a major canon within Asian and Western physical and moral aesthetics. Therefore, it is up to the viewer to decide the gender of each character, as well as to completely ignore the specificity of it. Simultaneously, the de-contextualization of historical erotic imagery through the enlargement of the original publication size denounces the secrecy in which Asian erotic culture was disseminated, as well as western puritan position against the public display of nudity, gender and sexuality.

The large and complex compositions created on paper scrolls dissect and embody the relationship between the evolutionary trends of aesthetic value and the ever-constant drive of possession. My practice examines the sequential perception of lust and desire using the Japanese erotic imagery that was forbidden during the Tokugawa period as an example in relation to the idolized imagery of current standards of beauty and perfection. The aesthetic appeal of the work ignites the desire of consumption in an audience who can appropriate the work through visual retention and actual physical ownership. Thus, the exchange between the audience and the work becomes a parallel to the relationship between the consumer and the object of desire itself.