Miru Kim is an artist, photographer, illustrator, and arts events coordinator, who has explored, documented, and photographed various urban settings such as abandoned subway stations, tunnels, the Croton aqueduct, Paris catacombs, factories, hospitals, and shipyards. Kim’s Naked City Spleen series of photographs include images of herself nude in these settings. For her new series, called The Pig That Therefore I Am, she has visited industrial hog farms and immersed herself amongst the pigs.
Kim was born in Stoneham, Massachusetts in 1981 but was raised in Seoul, Korea. She moved back to Massachusetts in 1995 to attend Phillips Academy in Andover and moved to New York City in 1999 to attend Columbia University. In 2006, she received an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute.
Kim was featured in Esquier’s 2007 Best and Brightest issue
The Financial Times of London included Kim in an article titled “We’ll climb that bridge when we get to it” about “urban explorers,” people who scale bridges and roam subway tunnels, storm drains, derelict factories, sewers, steam vents and other forbidden city infrastructure.
Blind Window (Trailer) from Miru Kim on Vimeo.
Documents Abandoned City Ruis
Mud Bath for Thick Skin, Miru Kim, Lódz Biennale 2010 On the recommendation of Richard Vine (Art in America), I was invited to participate in the Fokus Lódz Biennale 2010 (September 11–October 10) in Lódz, Poland. More than fifty artists around the world were invited to create works along Piotrkowska Street, the main commercial street considered to be the longest boulevard in Europe. One of the main venues along the street was an abandoned concert hall, with a main stage area and many rooms where artists created site-specific installations. In that building I discovered a basement, and staged a performance piece for the opening day of the Biennale. I named it The Mudbath for Thick Skin. The original idea was to do the piece much longer than 6 hours, but the basement was extremely cold, so the physical challenge, which was much beyond the mental one, became a time limitation for health reasons. The mud in the performance was taken from one of smaller local farms, which are now becoming obsolete due to large industrial farms. One could only watch the performance through a peephole on a wooden door that was bolted shut. The main part of my work at the Biennale was a public installation on Piotrkowska Street, on the corner of the very busy intersection with Zielona Street. An image from the series "The Pig That Therefore I Am" was mounted on a commercial lightbox display of 3.75 meters by 2.5 meters
Mud Bath for Thick Skin, Miru Kim, Lódz Biennale 2010 from Miru Kim on Vimeo.
Blind Door (Trailer) In 2008, I collaborated with a film director, Isidore Roussel, to make Blind Door, a 11-minute film shot in 16 mm black-and-white. The full length film is only available as a limited-edition DVD (edition of 100). Cinematography: Sean Williams Orginal Music Score: Andrew Nahem Editing: Miao Wang
Blind Door (Trailer) from Miru Kim on Vimeo. Istanbul, Istanbul (Trailer) With a generous sponsorship of Samsung Turkey, I was able to spend five weeks in Istanbul in March and April 2010, to create a photography and video installation at SODA gallery. I photographed some rarely visited ruins in and around Istanbul, and printed eleven new images as a part of the larger Naked City Spleen series. Video was installed in a separate room from the main exhibition hall, and it could be seen only through a square opening on a wall. The wanderings in the city were mapped out in an unconventional way, and I created a large window display of the neighborhoods, in the spirit of Situanionist. maps Istanbul, Istanbul (Trailer) from Miru Kim on Vimeo.
Miru Kim is a New York-based artist who has explored various urban ruins such as abandoned subway stations, tunnels, sewers, catacombs, factories, hospitals, and shipyards.
“POPULATING MY SOLITUDE
Over the last ten years, New York City has grown to be my favorite city. The island of Manhattan alone has a dense, mysterious network of man-made structures soaring fifteen hundred feet aboveground and digging eight hundred feet below. The five boroughs of New York are connected by more than thirty-five bridges and tunnels that make the city a miraculous feat of engineering, architecture, and design. The city has an anatomy and a psyche as complex as that of any human being.
Experiencing feelings of alienation and anxiety in the city – a city that has increasingly become more surveilled and commodified – I began to understand how many artists and authors suffered from severe bouts of depression, inertia, and isolation, which the term spleen embodies. One of the ways I escaped such feelings was to visit desolate and hidden places in the city. Every time I stepped out of the ordinary aboveground spaces that were filled with anonymous crowds, I felt regenerated and unrestrained.
Exploring industrial ruins and structures made me look at the city as one living organism. I started to feel not only the skin of the city, but also to penetrate the inner layers of its intestines and veins, which swarm with miniscule life forms. These spaces—abandoned subway stations, tunnels, sewers, catacombs, factories, hospitals, and shipyards—form the subconscious of the city, where collective memories and dreams reside.
I have always been fascinated by living beings reclaiming the urban ruins, having come across more than just rats: wild dogs, cats, birds, and bees nesting in sugar barrels in abandoned sugar factories. Envisioning imaginary beings that could dwell in these spaces, I began to occupy them myself. I became an animal or a child interacting with the surroundings. As I momentarily inhabit these deserted sites, they are transformed from strange to familiar, from harsh to calm, from dangerous to ludic.”
- from Miru Kim’s website :