Kim Kulim

Three Circles

Kim Three Circles Collection Of The Artist 1500 - © Kim Kulim
  • Kim Kulim
  • Three Circles
  • 1964
  • Steel, oil on wood panel
  • 181.5 x 91 cm
  • Courtesy the Artist - © Kim Kulim

Kim KulimsThree Circles (1964) is concerned with the continual cycle of creation through negation, wherein objects come into being from nothingness, then return to nothingness. Kim chose to signify the opposing polarities of destruction/creation, life/death as two achromatic circles located on either side of the panel. Like the interplay of yin and yang prevalent throughout Eastern philosophy, the interdependence of these two binaries is highlighted by a third circle overlapping the two others in the center of the composition, with its swirling vortex representing the dynamic movement of the universe.

Damian Lentini

Biography of Kim Kulim

  • Born 1936 in Sangju, North Gyeongsang Province, Korea
Kim Kulim, known as Korea’s first avant-garde artist, has worked in film, light, performance, and land art, often stretching the limits of a given medium. Primarily self-taught, he moved to New York after he dropped out of college and became involved with the Art Students League of New York, participating in a number of group exhibitions. Back in Korea, he held his first solo exhibition in 1958 at Daegu Information Center, and soon expanded his artistic practice beyond painting. In the 1960s Kim began to emphasize the materiality of painting in a radical way. For his artistic “deconstructions” he often used burned plastics, vinyl, and metal bits alongside oil paint. He incorporated ready-made objects in his painted canvases, created installation art, and staged performances. He played a leading part in several artist collectives (Painting 68, A.G. Group, The Fourth Group) and brought many firsts to the Korean art world. He filmed Korea’s first experimental movies Munmyeong, Yeoja, Don (Civilization, Woman, Money, 1969); and 1/24 (Cho) ui Uimi (The Meaning of 1/24 Second, 1969), staged the nation’s first body painting performance, initiated the first Korean mail art Maeseu Midieo ui Yumul (The Relics of Mass Media, 1969), and was responsible for Korea’s first examples of land art Chujeog e Hyeonsang Eseo (From Phenomenon to Traces, 1970).