Gimhongsok says he is used to “experiencing the world secondhand”: reading Korean translations of English texts or watching Korean interpretations of western television shows. And that’s the inspiration for his contemporary art.
Gimhongsok is a South Korean artist known for his hyper-realistic and humorous translations of one material into another. Treading a fine line between appropriation and plagiarism, Gimhongsok challenges the notion of authenticity in artworks and asks the fundamental questions of what constitutes art—materials, processes or forms. We can, for instance, associate some works to Jeff Koons.
He takes the imperfections and pitfalls of such translations as the starting point for his sculptures, installations, videos, and performances. Most works begin with a piece of text. Stripping that word of its given meaning, he begins to associate it with various objects, building an accumulation of text and objects that eventually suggests a fictive narrative or reality. In Material (2012), the artist plays with a non-textual translation: he translates the form of a balloon into resin. Stacked in a column, the resulting objects resemble buoyant objects; one expects them to topple or weightlessly float away.
However, their weight grounds them, disrupting viewers’ expectations and creating a fissure between one’s expectations of form and the reality of material.