Belle Jongmi Kim
I grew up in the city of Seoul, Korea. Recently I graduated MFA, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Living in Philadelphia, I often think of Seoul where I once lived on the other side of the planet. Growing up the cities seemed weird, the buildings stood tall and proud, asking to be seen. Yet I had never felt that they welcomed me. To me, the city felt just like a shell, an illusion. They were like clothes worn by other people that I saw walking the city streets. No one really knew what was truly inside. The buildings feel both secluded and secretive as if I am just a stranger who does not belong to them. And why do the pigeons I see while walking through this city look so similar to those in Seoul? It’s because they no longer migrate, no longer evolve, and are now considered domesticated as if the city buildings have separated them from nature. In my mind, the beautiful city buildings and their inhabitants became urban illusions, the same illusions I see now and so it makes me think a lot about where I am in this current illusion. The city where countless people, animals, objects, future, present, and past intersect is the subject of my work and one that I have found myself deeply interested in. This form of installation art allows me to express my own point of view about the city and its coexistence with nature, people, time, and materials. I am able to express how I view time both passing and intersecting and how the animals that were the original owners of nature are now living in the cities, evolving like us humans.