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Display of Sung-Kook Kim's 'Mercury_Dark Knight' on view at The Fitzrovia Gallery
Sung-Kook Kim's Mercury Dark Knight street view. Photo: Callum Baker.

LONDON.- London's The Fitzrovia Gallery is presenting a display of Sung-Kook Kim’s 'Mercury_Dark Knight' throughout the month of August.

Korean artist Sung-Kook Kim (b. 1982) completed a Master’s Degree in painting at the Royal College of Art, London, in June 2018. As part of the course, Kim produced a series of large scale paintings exploring the relationship between figures and space – a theme inspired by personal observations of the coexistence of multiple cultures in London. Seeking to articulate the harmony that prevails in a multicultural society, Kim depicts domestic interiors using strict compositional rules including grid-patterns.

The London-paintings are recognised by their stage-like composition and often surrealist nature. With a red brick-building as its point of departure, a scenario which mingles the general with the personal unfolds. The brick-building is moreover one of many unassuming shapes that reappear in Kim’s work. Their familiarity and sheer simplicity allow the viewer to discern and reflect on changes to content and mood as the series develop. Although Kim introduced the feature before arriving in London, it was during his intense studies here that he refined its role in delivering new narratives. Previously having sought inspiration in the techniques of Old Masters, he gradually adopted a personal, openly vulnerable, aesthetics.

As the artist moved away from the classical, introducing new techniques and exploring psychology as a subject-matter, symbolism became increasingly important. Iconic imagery and symbols found in both eastern and western traditions fill the canvasses, acting on behalf of the artist whose frequently experienced inability to use words lie behind his rich visual language.

‘Mercury_Dark Knight’ was among the first paintings made by the artist in his London-studio and grew out of a fantasy to fill his temporary accommodation in Battersea with cultural artefacts encountered in the city’s museums. In a playful yet dark moment, Mercury, god of thieves and the artist’s alter-ego, neatly balances on the back of a chair to place an object of desire in its new home.

Kim was born and raised in Seoul. He completed a BFA and MFA in painting at Seoul National University, the latter under tutelage of Un-Sung Han, in 2009 and 2012 respectively and has since then had four solo exhibitions in Seoul and participated in numerous group exhibitions in Korea, Hong Kong and the UK. Since graduating from the RCA, Kim has returned to Seoul where he is applying for a PhD program in painting at SNU. His work is found in international private and cooperative collections.

The present exhibition is part of The Fitzrovia Gallery’s objective to support emerging artists.

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