February 11th, observers watched Kim Jongku combine physical and digital media, where rust filings simultaneously become poetry, calligraphy, and landscape. The performance lasted only fifteen minutes, but wonderfully transmitted what it means to be a master of one’s craft. Kim plays with the traditions and conventions of East Asian art, where humanity is dwarfed by the landscape. Rust filings pour onto cloth to write poetry. As they pile up, a camera on the floor transforms and projects them as a sweeping landscape. Ultimately, Kim sacrifices the human act of poetry to help sculpt the emerging landscape. Once again, humanity is dwarfed by nature. Yet the same camera that projects these mountains captures the feet of giants, as the audience stands watching. One if left wondering exactly what the relationship between humanity and nature is in the modern age.
Kim followed his performance with a presentation of his art, career, and future plans. The art he performs today began with the theft of one of his sculptures. All that remained were the rust filings, which became Kim’s unique medium. Each rust filing is actually the shaved off ‘waste’ from sculptures he creates, and adds new layers of meaning to his work. The filings are collected from Kim’s ‘grinding room’ where he works in isolation. His lecture was followed by presentations from CU’s Art & Architecture Librarian Alexander Watkins, and William Morrow, the Denver Art Museum’s Polly and Mark Addison Associate Curator of Contemporary Art. Watkins discussed the process and consequences of preserving performance art. While Morrow discussed Kim’s work in the larger context of movements in contemporary art.
The University Libraries recorded the event and talks and will be made available in the near future. Kim’s Work was on Display at Macky Hall until the end of March, 2014.