DeepPond Kim

2024 Aim Fellow

Artist Statement

I use clay to explore the body. Humans are born from dust and return to dust when they die. Clay is the perfect material for creating physical bodies. I like the natural, organic color of clay, which minimizes the need for additional tones.

For me, sculpture is the extension of painting. I intentionally fire my clay only once to keep it natural like a raw canvas. I build sculptures in a similar way to paintings, layer by layer. I shape forms by pounding both the interior and exterior walls of the sculptures, using a technique reminiscent of traditional Korean Onggi jar makers.

When I was young, I was reprimanded for looking at peoples’ eyes, as it is considered impolite in Korean culture, especially when interacting with elders. As an immigrant, I am constantly having to adapt, integrate, and accustom myself to the unfamiliar, necessitating an understanding of not only spoken language but also non-verbal forms of communication.

I explore and define my own standards of what is acceptable and unacceptable through body modification. These fragmented bodies reflect human vulnerability through the transformation of form, evoking subtle feelings of anxiety and hostility when confronting the unfamiliar.

Koreans often misuse the terms ‘wrong’ and ‘different’ leading to a feeling that one is doing something wrong instead of simply being different. In response, I dissect, disassemble, and reassemble these unconventional sculptures as a means of embracing and coming to terms with feelings of displacement. My goal is to help people become comfortable with and accepting of difference and distortion as being okay.

Our life is reflected in our face. I create profiles that may remind people of individuals they’ve encountered, incorporating everyday objects to evoke a sense of familiarity. Through this process, I aim to break down social barriers and establish a connection with the unfamiliar.

I want to make a face that doesn’t have any specific personality so that the characteristics are not on the forefront. For me what’s more essential is to draw attention to the change in structure. I am not making monsters, I am reorganizing the human form to build my own interpretation of a ‘perfect’ body.

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