Artist Spotlight: Mihyun Maria Kim

Mihyun Maria Kim is a painter. The idea of the painting itself is meaningful for her because it is both the process and the outcome: it alludes that its end is not necessarily defined. It is through this ambivalence that she also explores the place between the encounter and the separation, the integration and the isolation.

She depicts portraits, figures, faces, whose main theme is the human connection. Maria Kim looks through her personal photos to find randomly captured people. She may not know them, but the fact that they shared the same space and time gives her an entry point to discover a potentially valuable moment. The stories she investigates can be her own – where she draws from memory – or can be a story told to her by her family and friends. From this, Maria Kim connects the past to her current situation, struggle or emotion and reinterprets it in order to dig deeper into the reason she has accessed it.

Photos are the starting point for Maria Kim’s works, but she never looks at them during the process. She let them intermingle with her surroundings, “to be more influenced by information through news, research, writings, books, so that I free the mind and emotions of my own visual world to come alive”, she describes.

all photos by Pilotenkueche Art Program

She allows herself to be carried away by her thoughts so that her body moves with a certain weight and energy which can be seen in the brushwork, choice of colors, the size of the work and how controlled the situation is for painting. The dark color palette and the expressive brushstroke are remarkable in her work.

All the subjects and contexts Maria Kim paints relate to who she is as a painter. The figures she paints can be seen as her own representation. Her painting process is her own self-knowledge process. The time of painting is also a time of reflection and the reinvention of a memory. The anonymous character of a possible encounter gains an intimate form, at the same time, the painting seems to be reduced to a non-place and timeless state. Taken to the extreme, it is the creation of a background for new memories.

At the beginning of her career, she was influenced by the Austrian painter Egon Schiele, for his raw lines and use of negative space; the German Expressionists who distort the use of colour, space, and scale; sculptors as Magdalena Abakanowicz with hollow figures and surface texture, and more recently Claudia Alvarez with her rooms of ceramic children and their piles of shoes. Her current influencers are Maja Ruznic, Xin Ye Cheng, Kaye Donachie, Grace Metzier and Genieve Figgis. With her recent move to Edmonton in Canada, she wishes to further understand the rawness and depictions of both Julian Forrest and Kim Dorland.

Since 1998 Mihyun Maria Kim has been selected to several art residencies, such as Can Serrat and AIRGentum, in Spain and CAMAC (Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre), in France. At Pilotenkueche, the artist aims to move on to larger paintings and also to group the smaller paintings for viewing as it has this element of a search for one that one can recognize him/herself in.

text: curator Viviane Tabach

You can see Maria Kim’s work in the four upcoming shows of round 3 7. 


Vernissage: 01.11.18, 19h
Open: 02.11 – 04.11.18 17-20h
Location: PING PONG, Helmholtzstraße 1, 04177 Leipzig, Germany
facebook event


Vernissage:  16.11.18, 19h
Open:  17-21.11.18 17 – 20h
Finissage: 22.11.18, 19h
Location: Krudebude, Stannebeinplatz 13, 04347 Leipzig, Germany
facebook event


Vernissage:  23.11.18, 19h
Open:  24 – 29.11.18, 17 – 20h
Finissage: 30.11.18 19h
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany
facebook event


Vernissage:  14.12.18, 19h
Open:  15 – 20.12.18 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
facebook event