2023 Hermes Foundation Art Prize winner Heecheon Kim's technology-driven practice investigates the ways in which contemporary technological interfaces influence one's relationship to the surrounding world.Read More
Much of his work is preoccupied by the potential of technology, for better or worse, to permanently alter cognitive processes.
Heecheon Kim was born in 1989 in Seoul, South Korea. He graduated from the Department of Architecture at Korea National University of Arts in 2015. Though he studied architecture in university, he soon transitioned to a filmmaking practice.
The sensibilities around scale and perspective that Kim honed during his architectural studies have remained influential markers of his approach to his films and the installations that surround them.
Using VR, face swap applications and GPS, among other technologies, the video installation works of post-Internet artist Heecheon Kim weave multiple narratives together to comment on technological development and blur the boundaries of what constitutes lived reality.
Much of Heecheon Kim's work revolves around the moment when technology becomes invisible or indistinguishable from the world that surrounds it. A prime example is the artist's 2018 film Every Smooth Thing through Mesher.
The 30-minute film is based around the premise that a new Pokémon Go with perfect AR is developed. Pikachu hides behind a flowerpot; if the creature never emerges, it would be impossible to ever tell again whether it is the real world or virtual reality.
Every Smooth Thing through Mesher was first exhibited at the 2018 Gwangju Biennale. Emblematic of Heecheon Kim's core concerns, it keys into the artist's sense that the world is becoming one big screen.
Many of Heecheon Kim's works also explore the ways in which one's temporality is shifted as technology becomes more and more bound with lived experience. The artist's 2019 film Deep in the Forking Tanks follows a diver who is undertaking image-training in a float tank.
In the film, the diver begins to confuse neutral buoyancy (the state of balance between gravity and buoyancy that causes a body in water to neither sink nor rise) with the feeling of floating in the tank.
This confusion becomes the point of departure towards a disorientation between the training and real diving. The training is recorded and exported into a simulation that the diver can no longer distinguish from his real experience. In attempts to escape, he sinks deeper into the program.
Heecheon Kim has been the recipient of multiple awards in addition to the 2023 Hermes Foundation Art Prize, including the Biennale Prize for the 13th Cairo Biennale (2019), the 2018 and 2016 Doosan Yonkang Foundation Art Awards, the 2018 Doosan Residency New York, and the 2013 Mirae Award by Parkgeonhi Foundation.
In 2023, Heecheon Kim was announced as one of 13 artists chosen for the Korean Artists Abroad programme supported by Korea Arts Management Service.
Heecheon Kim has been the subject of both solo exhibition and group exhibitions. Solo exhibitions include: Deep in the Forking Tanks, Art Sonje Center, Seoul (2019); Lifting Barbells, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2018); and Home, Doosan Gallery, Seoul (2017).
Group exhibitions include: After Gray Box: From Collection to Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan (2022); In My House, Watch and Chill, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul (2021), and Three Rooms: Edge of Now, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2019).
Heecheon Kim's website can be found here.
Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2023