The New School News

Kim's work was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize
Kim's work was recently shortlisted for the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize

Hee Chan Kim, Parsons Faculty Member, Explores Materials and Forms Through Sculpture

The Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, is one of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art museums, regularly hosting exhibitions and special events featuring the premier artists of the day. Beginning this Spring, the museum will host the finalists for the Loewe Craft Prize, which includes Hee Chan Kim, a Parsons School of Design faculty member.

Kim, who recently finished residencies at Mana Contemporary in New Jersey and the Museum of Art and Design in New York, has been shortlisted for the prestigious Loewe prize thanks to his innovative wooden sculptures. Asked about how it feels to be included on the shortlist, Kim shares that it feels “amazing.”

“It’s always difficult to work in sculpture in the city due to logistics such as getting materials, working space, storing etc. It is a much needed encouragement that I should continue exploring the three dimensional work. When the Loewe craft prize 2023 was exhibited at Noguchi Museum, I went to see it and pictured myself and my work in the museum with other beautifully crafted objects. And I am so glad that I can show my work at Palais de Tokyo in Paris this year and hopefully it inspires someone too.”

Kim’s work routinely explores the relationship between the hand, material, and form. His sculptures are a way for him to try and discover new forms, while also developing systems that allow for the material to participate in the creation process.

“I share my control with material and a form grows organically like how it does in nature,” he explains. “As an artist who lives in the world where literally anything can be 3D printed, I want to find the meaning of the act of making, and recover our intimate relationship with nature (as material). As a vessel-like-form, it represents us as a human being. Tactile nature of my work originated from the desire of non-verbal communication as an Asian immigrant. I want my work to be quiet but loud at the same time.”

When Kim first moved to the United States from South Korea in his 20’s, he struggled with language. Since then, themes related to non-verbal communication have appeared in his work, where he hopes to create pieces that have the power to communicate universally.

“Even though my work looks otherworldly, it resembles a functional object and literally shows how it’s constructed,” he shares. “I want the audience to stay as long as they want to explore the physical connections between little pieces and the tension they created. And hopefully, audiences will get inspired to regain their relationship with nature and redefine that in their own way.”

As a faculty member at Parsons, Kim finds that he learns from his students as much as they learn from him. He is often inspired by their energy and enthusiasm, and aims to create a safe learning environment in whatever space he’s in.

“There is something so meaningful and fulfilling but sometimes intimidating about teaching, that is, it can actually make changes in someone’s life. Intimate relationships that I make with students fuels my creativity and creates a sense of belonging in life.”

Kim is not the only faculty member from Parsons and The New School making headlines with his work. Recently, Claudia Norman, faculty member from the College of Performing Arts, won two awards from leading music industry groups, while Denise Lim, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Parsons, was awarded a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Kim recently won Artist of the Fair for his work that was part of Collect 2024 at the Somerset House in London. Looking ahead, he’ll be part of the Loewe Prize group show at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, and he’s also working on a new lighting project for Design Miami that will debut in December.

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