KangHee Kim takes ordinary life, melts it down, looks at it cross-eyed, spins it around a few times, bakes it in a birthday cake, and puts it back together again. While her work carries a distinctive visual style—and is undeniably technically impressive—the Korean-born artist insists everything comes from a dedication to keeping things chill.
Speaking to VICE, she emphasizes that good art is about unselfconscious experimentation. And if it's not funny, it's probably not worth doing.
VICE: Your work is pretty eclectic in terms of subjects, but fruit and reflections pop up again and again. What is it about those two things that appeal to you so much?
KangHee Kim: I don't know. I think I'm pretty obsessed with watermelon and bananas. I guess they're already just so visually interesting and I like having them next to artificial fruits, too—channeling what fruits look like in our head. Also watermelon tastes amazing. As for mirrors, a few years ago I just started carrying them everywhere I went. I love the way they bring something into the scene that wouldn't have otherwise been in the image. A huge part of every photo is what gets left out so I like to bring a little of it back in.
V: Your work also has a pretty open focus on humor. Do you think that's is an underrated element in art?
KK: Yes. Humor is what drives me, and keeps me engaged. Life is already so serious and complicated in the first place. Why add to that? To me being playful is really important, if my work feels serious, everything just feels tense. Obviously humor plays an important role in social interaction and I'm hoping it serves the same purpose in my work.
ft. photos by KangHee Kim