South Korean artist Jae Yong Kim is best known for his ceramic sculptures of donuts which are often painted and embellished with glitter and crystals.Read More
Born in 1973 in South Korea, Jae Yong Kim moved to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia as a child due to his father's job. Kim returned to South Korea five years later and spent his adolescence in Seoul.
In 1994, Kim moved to the United States and attended the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, earning a BFA in Ceramics and Sculpture (1998). In 2001, he completed an MFA in Ceramics at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan.
It was during a period of depression in 2008, when—asking himself what brought him joy—Kim began making ceramic sculptures of donuts. The works were also a reaction to the greed and gluttony he witnessed in New York's financial world.
Kim's appetizing treats are coated with multiple layers of glaze and often adorned with crystals, glitter, vivid patterns and paint, as seen in the series 'Donut Rush' (2005). To some donuts, Kim adds ears, as if to replicate Mickey Mouse's head.
Varying in size and shape, Kim's sculptures are often aggregated into wall-based installations, such as the 2019 work Donut Ever Forget Me (shown at the Boise Art Museum in Idaho). Made from 100 hand-sculpted donuts arranged in rows, each sculpture in the installation was glazed and adorned with splatters and dots which referenced artists like Jackson Pollock and Yayoi Kusama.
With their bright colours and consumerist connotations, some works are also directly linked to the history of Pop Art—particularly I Dreamt of Donut Flavored Soup (2016), a collection of 40 donuts painted to resemble to replicate Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans (1962).
Kim's donuts have varied in size over the years; later works like the 'XXL' series can measure over a metre in diameter. While works like Dot Orange Dot XXL (025) (2020)—an orange donut dotted with blue, yellow, and white designs—stay close to their confectionary reference, others like Blue and White XXL (2019) replicate traditional Deft blue and white patterns.
Jae Yong Kim has held solo exhibitions at Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok (2021); Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul (2020); Lyons Wier Gallery, Seoul (2019); Boise Art Museum, Idaho (2019); Harbour City, Hong Kong (2017); Huantai Museum, Jangsu, China (2016); Dennos Museum Center, Michigan (2015); and Blank Space Gallery, New York (2012).
Kim's work has been included in group exhibitions at Waterfall Gallery, New York (2021); Askeri Gallery, Moscow (2017); Sweetwater Center for Arts, Sewickley, USA (2009); Contemporary Craft, Pittsburgh (2009); Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, Japan (2008); and Montclair State University, New Jersey (2007).
Jae Yong Kim is represented by Blank Space Gallery.
Jae Yong Kim's Instagram can be found here.
Elaine YJ Zheng | Ocula | 2021