Artist-in-residence finishes “East and West”
GENEVA, N.Y. – After three weeks of work, Kim Czong-Ho could finally take a break. On Tuesday, May 31, Kim stepped back to admire his finished sculpture at an informal gathering on the Houghton House grounds. Kim, with the assistance of Owen Oertling ’05, worked 12-hour days wrestling huge metal plates into position, welding one piece to another, and slowly bringing the sculptor’s vision into reality. Kim’s final project, titled “East and West” will be installed on the Colleges’ campus in the coming weeks.
Kim’s sculpture, a 10-foot presence of black steel, suggests the forms of two figures, face to face. The work clearly seems to reflect East Asian philosophy, representing the duality of two forces. But Kim himself saw influences from Western culture as well. “This is not like something I would make in Korea,” he said.
As an artist-in-residence at Hobart and William Smith since January of this year, Kim has worked and lived with the art department faculty, participated in classes, given lectures, and worked one-on-one with students. His presence at the Colleges was initiated by Professor Ted Aub, a personal acquaintance of Kim who met him while lecturing at Seoul’s Sangmyung University. Kim’s presence, like the sculpture itself, reflects the international mission of the Colleges and is “something we would like to do more of in the future,” said Aub.
As a sculptor, Kim Czong-Ho is recognized as the first Korean artist to experiment with “found art” techniques. He routinely uses materials discarded from construction sites or thrown away by their original owners as the primary medium for his work, much of his project was constructed with left-over sheets of steel, welded together by hand to form the large sculpture. Kim says that this method allows him to invoke a “pre-information age,” industrial feel in his work.
Kim, a South Korean citizen, did his graduate work at Hong Ik University in Seoul before pursuing another degree in sculpture at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He currently holds a position as professor of sculpture at Sangmyung University in Seoul. His work has been widely exhibited in Korea and in New York and Los Angeles.
His work at the Colleges was funded through the generosity of the Luce Foundation, which supports the Asian Studies department.