"The endless cycle of idea and action, endless invention, endless experiment, brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness." - T. S. Eliot
"My art does not connect to my private life," she explained. "All artists have their private lives, but I work to overcome that." Because she characteristically moves away from the personal and particular towards the universal, Minjung Kim feels free to borrow from a wide range of spiritual, philosophical and aesthetic traditions. Strains of Daoist, Buddhist and Korean thought have influenced her, but so has her experience of western modern art. Ultimately, she works to blend and transcend all of these ingredients and move towards her personal creative center. "Gods create something," she notes whimsically; "I'm a little of God and a little bit of human being."
When I asked Kim if the use of fire in her artistic process had been influenced by the work of the French modernist Yves Klein, she responded enthusiastically that she did admire Klein's work. She then went on to observe that she used fire very differently from Klein: "Western artists use fire to show their power to make something." Kim isn't so much interested in demonstrating her power to make things as she is in responding to and channeling the sense of destiny and life energy that she feels surrounding her and defining her existence.
"I am so fortunate," Kim told me at the end of our call. As an artist, she is completely engaged in, and satisfied by the world that she continually creates. She speaks about her work as it each image is a part of her psyche, a moment of experience. "The movement, the colors, they are so calm and peaceful," she says: "They are my state of mind."