Yool Kim “Play Factory”

October 14th – November 18th, 2023

Court Tree Collective is proud to present "Play Factory" by South Korean artist Yool Kim (김율). Yool Kim has participated in many of Court Tree’s exhibitions, and this is the first solo show for this up-and-coming Seoul-based contemporary artist.

“Play Factory” is composed of eight acrylic paintings that confront the inner-self through themes of love, loyalty, and playfulness. Thick strokes of acrylic paint coat her canvases, demonstrating the artist's desire to soothe her emotional state of personal acceptance and convey the diverse perspectives she encounters and is compelled to express. In her paintings, contemporary symbols are more than pop-culture references and serve as recognizable tools to assist in conveying her beliefs.



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Interview On “Play Factory” by Yool Kim

October 14th – November 18th, 2023

Court Tree Collective is proud to present "Play Factory" by South Korean artist Yool Kim (김율). Yool Kim has participated in many of Court Tree’s exhibitions, and this is the first solo show for this up-and-coming Seoul-based contemporary artist.

“Play Factory” is comprised of eight acrylic paintings that confront the inner-self through themes of love, loyalty, and playfulness. Thick strokes of acrylic paint coat her canvases, demonstrating the artist's desire to soothe her emotional state of personal acceptance and convey the diverse persepctives she encounters and is compelled to express. In her paintings, contemporary symbols are more than pop-culture references and serve as recognizable tools to assist in conveying her beliefs.


Keep reading below for an exclusive inteview (in both English and Korean) with Yool Kim on her upcoming exhibit and more:

Your works are constantly evolving and your style has gone through so many changes. What inspires these shifts in style and when do you know it’s time to paint something new?

I wanted to express my emotional state and the various aspects of myself through the small changes in my paintings. Among these changes, when I want to express the relationship between myself and others, it seems to develop into a different style of art.

저의 감정상태, 그리고 제 안에 여러 가지의 모습들을 표현하고 싶은 갈망에 조금씩 그림의 변화가 있습니다. 그 중에서도 저와 사람들간의 꽌계에 대한 고찰을 표현하고 싶을 때 또 다른 그림체로 변화하는거 같아요.


In your upcoming solo-exhibit, there is such care and an acute attention to detail when it comes to shoes in your paintings. Where does this interest in shoes stem from? What are your favorite pairs of shoes to paint and/or wear?

The symbolism behind shoes is that it is a tool that helps me to stand on my two feet in a harsh world and is a medium that protects me while also allowing me to grow without losing my true self. Among the many shoes, I personally like Vans and Nike the most. Van’s slogan is “Off the wall”. This phrase, which implies “unique”, respects freedom and individuality; these are two characteristics that are important when I view others, and are important values that acknowledge the differences in relationships between people. The reason I chose Nike is to encourage growth in this harsh world. The rough texture, the raised tail of the Nike swoosh is symbolic of growing in the wild world. For these reasons, I paint Vans and Nike shoes.

신발이 상징하는 의미는 거친 세상에서 내가 두발로 설수 있게 도와주는 도구이며 나를 지킬 수 있고 내 본모습을 잃지 않고 성장하게 만드는 매개체입니다. 많은 신발 중에서도 저는 반스와 나이키를 가장 좋아합니다. 반스의 슬로건은 "Off the wall"입니다. "독특한"을 의미하는 이 문구는 자유와 개성을 존중한다는 의미며 제가 다른 사람들을 볼 때 중요한 부분이고, 사람들 사이의 관계의 차이를 인정하는 중요한 가치입니다. 나이키를 선택한 이유는 거친 세상에서 계속 성장하기 위해서입니다. 거친 질감, 꼬리가 올라간 나이키의 상징인 야생의 세계는 계속 성장하라는 의미입니다. 이런 의미들로 인해 제가 반스와 나이키를 그리는 이유입니다.


Many of your figures exhibit multiple faces or overlap each other. Is this a stylistic choice and/or is there a deeper meaning behind this? Are these figures characters from your imagination or is there also a sliver of self-representation in them?

Two eyes, one mouth, and one nose fall short of being able to see the people you love and feel the world; and to be free of the world’s set standards, you express it with three eyes, two noses, and two mouths. I think it’s not enough to see the people you love with only two eyes, and when gazing at other people, various thoughts come to mind. In this way, I want to make a sound and acknowledge diversity, and so that is why I draw overlapping bodies. 

두 눈과 하나의 입과 코는 사랑하는 사람들을 보고 세상을 느끼기에 부족하고, 세상이 정해놓은 기준에서 벗어 나고 싶기에 3개의 눈과 2개의 코와 입으로 표현합니다. 사랑하는 사람을 두눈으로 보기에 부족하다는 생각, 타인을 바라보면서 다양한 생각들이 떠오르는 것, 이렇 듯 다양성을 인정하고 소리내고 싶어 중첩된 신체분위를 그리게 됩니다.


When viewers look at your pieces for your upcoming show, what do you hope they will feel and remember? What kind of impression do you want your paintings to have on them?

This series is about love, playfulness, and protecting someone you love. Sweet foods and flowers are used as symbols to express wanting to give everything to a loved one, as well as a promise to always be by his or her side. I hope that many people will be grateful and happy to be with their loved ones when viewing my paintings.

이번 시리즈는 사랑과 장난스러움, 그리고 사랑하는 사람을 지켜주고자 하는 의미를 가지고 있습니다. 사랑하는 사람에게 내 전부를 주고 싶은 사랑의 도구로 달콤한 음식과 꽃으로 표현했으며 항상 옆에서 지켜주겠다는 약속의 의미로 표현되고 있습니다. 많은 사람들이 제 그림을 보면서 사랑하는 사람들을 떠오르며 함께함을 감사히 여기고 행복감을 느끼길 바랍니다.


Your artist signature that you so creatively place in your paintings is fascinating: it is composed of your name ‘KIM YOOL (김율)’ in both English and Korean. How did this signature develop?

While thinking how my signature could represent my diversity, I thought of my roots, Hangul, and the language of the world, English, and combined the two. In addition, the Korean name “Yul” is composed of both consonants and vowels, which hints to my various states of being.

저의 다양성을 나타낼수 있는 사인을 생각하는 도중에 저의 뿌리인 한글과 세계의 언어인 영어를 생각하게 되어 함께 조합하게 되었습니다. 또한 “율”의 한글 이름을 자음과 모음으로 나눠 표기하여 저의 각기 다른 존재들을 함축시키는 의미를 담고 있습니다.


Last great piece of media (book/show/music/movie)?

I recently listened to the songs from the musical Rebecca, and as soon as I heard them, I got shivers all over my body and burst into tears. It was as if sound was coming from all over my body through a single voice, and it was a combination of anger, longing, and frustration; it was the first time I was overwhelmed with these different emotions while listening to music. Maybe these emotions will be reflected in my next work.

최근 뮤지컬 레베카 노래를 들었는데, 듣자 마자 온모에 소름과 함께 울음이 터저 나왔어요, 목소리라는 하나의 통로로 온몸에서 소리들이 뿜어 나오는거 같았습니다, 그 소리는 울분과 그리움 그리고 분노가 함께 뒤섞여 있었는데 음악들 들으며 이런 여러 감정에 휩싸인건 처음이었습니다. 아마 다음 제 작업에서는 이 음악이 반영이 될지도 모르겠네요.



Click Here ︎ to see Yool’s work.
Yool’s Instagram: @yool___kim

Interview and Translation by Tiffany Kang.
@by_inyoung










Court Tree Collective was established in 2013 by a group of artists and creatives with the primary purpose of representing and supporting the work of emerging and established contemporary artists. Since its opening Court Tree Collective has been a staple to south Brooklyn’s emerging art scene and in a short time has exhibited a number of important exhibitions. In addition they have curated a number of exhibitions at satellite locations throughout the states and abroad.︎

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