Kim Kwan Soo

Mystery and meditation in Kim Kwan Soo’s pictorial research

by Gianfranco Valleriani

“To be innocent, we must return to the nature. I admire with wonder the greatness of nature, which is an instinct that we inherit from the cradle. I always work with myself, exploring the traces of ancient time “. For Kim Kwan Soo, the human being carries with him a primitive instinct, from birth; a kind of inner and unconscious mind that he inherites as part of his nature. Starting from this consideration, the artistic work of Kwan Soo becomes a kind of ritual ceremony in search of ancient time. He uses simple objects, such as branches or stones, which become essential elements of a research that is interior as well as pictorial. Of these simple primitive elements Kwan Soo explores their mysterious dimension, in a search motion that has just the canvas as a work space. Twigs and pieces of wood, often of birch, are always linked through knots. They are like dreamlike elements, before being symbolic, which produce images of simple purity, in a spontaneous gesture that brings nature and human intervention closer. It is a minimal but profound game of knots combined between different twigs, and between twigs and brushstrokes; a vision imbued with ambiguity that leaves people free in their imagination, in front of an object that perfectly combines materiality and painting, nature and artifice. All Kwan Soo’s artworks have a double surface, more precisily a kind of slot, like an entrance into a mistery or a secreet. Someting is written there, but no matter of what; it is more similar to a natural mental movement to be inside, into that secreet space inside ourself. The artist aims straight to compose geometries and structures, made by fullness and emptyness, directions of gaze and thought. Kwan Soo offers an art object that wants to be above all an “vital” point of view, that pushes gently the spectator in a kind of experience. Kwan Soo’s work is meticulous and highly accurate, which does not lead to a new minimalism; his is a look of elegance on human sincerity, to which we should all aspire.

Selected Museum Exhibition


2016 Special Encore Exhibition Korean Contemporary Artists (Korea National Museum), South Korea

2010 Horizon of the corner, Art Valley, South Korea

2006 Solo show Kwanhoon Museum of Art, South Korea

2005 Solo show Kwanhoon Museum of Art, South Korea

2004 You are my sunshine, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea

2004 Solo show Mia Art Museum, Minneapolis, USA

1993 Asia Pacific Triennial, Australia

1988 Korean Pavillon, XLIII Biennale di Venezia, Italy

1987 Solo show Gallery Noh, Berlin, Germany

1986 Yesterday and Today, National Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea

1985 Solo show Art Hall, , South Korea


Permanent Museum Collection: National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul Museum of Art