André Kim - little K -
As well sculptor and photographer, André Kim places, in the street, the small characters which he creates and proposes a poetic reading of the urban space. Interview.
- How did you enter the world of creation?
I studied the plastic arts at the university. During these years of studies, I developed an artistic practice based mainly on the drawing and the painting. Everything in the art history interested me but I felt closer to artists as Alberto Giacometti, Thomas Schutte, Tintoret and Daniel Richter.
- Your photos present characters that you model and install in a urban context. Your work implies the union of two artistic disciplines. Do you approach your work more as a sculptor or as a photographer?
Naturally there is in the characters of chill out a research on the relief, on the physical attitude and on the materials used. I give also a lot of importance for the stage setting of the photos, for the composition and for the light. But chill out is above all an experience of exploration and geographical prospecting, a discovery of new spaces.
- How do you have introduce the project of Chillin ' out?
I had begun a series of children's portraits in watercolor in which I thought about the question of the identity in movement. The way I represented faces falsified the process of identification and it was what interested me. One day, I modelled with some clay a character in the same spirit of non-identification. Next to this, I went to the spectacle of dance " 2008 Vallée " choreographed by Mathilde Monnier and with Philippe Katerine. After one hour of excitement, bodies are relaxed and settled in attitudes which seemed to me rich in sense. I was marked by this image. I also began to be interested in the street art and in the practices of urban intervention. It is later that I have make my first character with an empty hood, with an attitude of chillin ' and even later that I have make my first photography with these characters.
- How do you choose the space into which you integrate your characters?
I have no real criteria. Even if I put characters outside cities, my ground of preference is the urban space. Then, it is the city and its architecture which direct my choices.
- Who are these beings with hood? What do they represent? Why do they live in the outside spaces?
The characters are inspired by the urban culture, from hip-hop and skateboard clothes, but there is also a fantasy side sprites to them. They give the possibility to contextualize a place. Whom are they? Whay are they here? These characters allow to disrupt the customs. The passer thanks to them stops where he perhaps would have carried on his way. Urban space and its temporality are thus modified.
- Should we understand that you install your characters in a permanent way in the place where you photograph them ?
At the beginning, I did not leave them where I took them in photograph. It was thus the setting in scene photographed that was important. Now, I leave them. I have sometimes problems to fix them but in the long run each one should remain where I placed them to take the photography.
-Your manners of approaching the construction of your photographs are varied but certain types seem to be recurrent. Which sens do you give to the framing?
In the majority of my photographs, a place is presented with a landscape in the background and the characters disposed on a support in the foreground. I compose with these three elements: place, support and character. I make location before modelling my character. For the question of the catch of sight, I put the camera, in general, at the height of the sculpture. I always use broad framin because it gives the possibility to have an overall picture of the place and to include the characters in the selected environment. I play also with the scale of my sculptures to give them a scale more important as what is actually, that adds to the strangeness of the situation.
-The night appears to be your moment of predilection...
The night is favourable to the exploration. There is less trafic and I prefer the deserted streets. I also like what adds to photography, the long pose, necessary for this type of luminosity. But it is really the space which defines the moment of the photograph because I make with the light available.
-Do you believe that the time spent in a space aesthetically hostile can make it appreciable?
Space is not to be appreciated or liked but only to live. Therefore the stair-wells or the entries of buildings are rich of shared life, discussed alleviating and that is why they do not constitute only neutral space.
-Do you perceive the street like a livable space?
The street must be livable. The street as any space has an infinite creative and poetic potential. The chill out are also there to show this energy in latency.
-Do you think that the suspension of time makes the individual more permeable to the appreciation of his external environment?
At the base, it is as an opposition to the agitation and the alienation which results from it that I defined the attitude of my characters. It's possible to feel captive of a time which would not be ours. There is not only one inexorable principle of the course of the time. It is possible to suspend it by creating our own moments of life. When I give to see my characters integrated in an environment, I create a different time. They do nothing definite and that gives the possibility to open the matter. It is not only what is presented as presence but also what is posed in front of or what is proposed to be lived. The « chill out » is a whole manner of living the space, to explor it as a playground.
-You created more recently characters on a higher scale and modelled with netting. Which new possibilities these changes offer you?
That allows a different confrontation with the artwork. The sculpture with a human size is a mirror whereas the characters smalls as a hand, permit more to see the environment. Then, the materials used proposes a plastic quality illustrating different questions. Even if the characters modelled with hen netting have a human size, they are more invisible. It is this subtle presence which interests me.
- You also expose in galleries. What sense there is to present your sculptures in a closed place?
These characters, the "Chillin' ghost", are to be considered independently from the space where they are integrated. I thus create them like real sculptures.