Since 2009, artist Yong Joo Kim has dedicated her practice to exploring this seemingly simple yet complex question.
She is also known around the world as a pioneer in the use of hook-and-loop fasteners as material for fine art.
Yong Joo Kim is a classically trained metalsmith. However, her current body of work began to take shape in 2009 when she chose to limit herself to the use of hook-and-loop fasteners instead of metals as her primary material of fabrication.
The choice was originally born out of financial necessity and an attraction toward the new material. However, she soon became aware of her deep-seated belief that her responsibility as an artist is to continuously create new and beautiful works of art no matter the hurdles she faced. In fact, she believed that her failure to achieve such a feat would be akin to her death as an artist. Once she realized that such pressure and weight fueled her creative process she realized that the practice of making art, to her, is synonymous with survival. Thus began her line of inquiry into the meaning of survival.
After becoming aware of the pressure and weight that fueled her, she also decided to not only feel the pressure and weight herself but to also transfer it to her materials. By letting go of any forethought on what the shape of her art work should be and merely applying pressure and weight to her materials, she was able to discover and create an unexpected and new body of work that, despite being made from artificial materials, seems to embody the kind of beauty, strength, and vitality often found in nature among the oceans, volcanos, or grand canyons.
Reflecting on the shape of her new body of work, she fully accepted that making art, for her, is less a means of expression and more a residue of her efforts to survive under pressure and weight. She also found much comfort in seeing that it was no different than how the mountains and valleys are residues of nature under pressure and weight.
Yong Joo Kim’s practice is characterized by her ongoing exploration of the aesthetic potential of hook-and-loop fasteners as well as her formidable capacity to create beauty under pressure and weight.
Under her own self-imposed judgment that she must become a master craftsperson to be an artist worthy of recognition, Yong Joo Kim limits herself to one primary material as would a traditional craftsperson. However, her chosen material is a mass-produced artifact known as a hook-and-loop fastener: not the kind that a traditional craftsperson would accept. It is in this space of conflict and contradiction that Yong Joo Kim’s work invites us to contemplate our own self-imposed judgments not as a way to self-criticize, but as a way to leverage it as a means for creativity and innovation.
A native of Seoul, Korea, Yong Joo Kim has held 8 solo exhibitions and 90+ group exhibitions across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
She received her:
In addition to her artwork, she strives to describe the creative process in easy-to-understand metaphors more accessible to non-artists.
She has been invited as a featured speaker at premier conferences and exhibitions such as:
Her work has received various awards such as:
Her work appears in the permanent collection of: