Je-an Cedric Cruz | Contributor
Featured Image: Here I Am, a bronze sculpture moulded from Esther Kim’s own ear. | Courtesy of Esther Kim
Esther Kim is a Visual Arts (Studio) student and is currently in her fifth year at York. A Canadian-born Korean artist, Kim works on bodily concepts through the form of sculpture. She does this by using metal fabrication, mould creation, foundry, and the medium’s contrast and scale to emit abstraction in concrete format.
The inspiration behind her work is the thoughtful investigation of the philosophies of the mind and its relationship with the body. Moreover, her work challenges the viewers about their commonly held assumptions regarding our world. Thus, her work opens possibilities for interpretation that eventually activates the viewers’ cognitive and bodily awareness. Simply, her work is rooted on the viewer’s subjectivity of self.
“The common theme of my work is about disentangling the human body and reconnecting them in different perspectives,” Kim says.
Nevertheless, she realized at a very young age that art is something that she wants to do; she was always around with arts and crafts. Furthermore, she was also exposed to power tools as her father was a contractor. Growing up as a woman, she feels that working with objects such as power tools is not something that a woman is usually exposed to.
According to Kim, she somewhat breaks that barrier. When she entered York, she produced different works of art due to the institution’s varying art labs such as Wood, Metal, and Boundary Shops. She then realized that such art could also be produced in tangible forms and not just in a flat surface.
“I am not degrading works that are produced on a flat surface. I am just able to present my ideas better through tangible forms,” she notes.
With regards to her current work entitled Here I Am, she says that several of the pieces she used were bronze metals and clays that had varying artistic processes towards the creation of her current work. She also used other objects that she collected in the past years.
When asked about the inspiration behind her work, she says, “It is about challenging my bodily limitations may it be an artistic technique or training.”
“The challenge that I have been experiencing and I will experience in the future is that, where does my future lie as an artist? The field is constantly changing and the definition of an artist itself,” Kim further adds.
She ends the conversation by advising future artists: “Seize all the opportunities given to you. Even if you think you are not capable of doing something, it is all about mind over matter. If you set yourself and intentions to be more open about things, you will realize that more things will come to you.”