Artist Kim Heejo's "BYR Prime Elements" & "Schematic Medium"

August 29, 2022

A Team

Main image of Kim Heejo's solo exhibition "BYR PRIME ELEMENTS" at UARTSPACE in Seoul from May 13 – June 27, 2020.

‘BYR Prime Elements’ by artist Kim Heejo (b. 1980) is a group of circle-shaped paintings comprising ninety-nine units. The work consists of thirty-three “Blue,” “Yellow,” and “Red” pieces that are an inch (2.54 cm) thick and have a diameter of 18 inches (45.72 cm), designed to rotate 360 degrees.

Three units of "BYR PRIME ELEMENTS"

While the square shapes in the “Blue” group represent the limitations and finiteness of human beings, the triangles inscribed in the “Yellow” group represent the natural environment surrounding humans. The circles in the “Red” group are extended from a point, representing physical phenomena or power transformations.

The ninety-nine units serve as the basic formal elements of the artwork, reflecting the artist’s physical and mental experiences at every moment of her life. These elements also reveal change, balance, and unity through physical or chemical fusion.

BYR Prime Elements, in other words, can be considered an organic body that infinitely changes and expands toward formative completion and a whole unit that demonstrates the process of becoming a complete Schematic Medium.

Exhibition view of “BYR: Prime Elements,” 2020, UARTSPACE, Seoul, Korea

“My visual language does not just tell a single story or deal with independent topics.”

Kim’s solo exhibition, BYR: Prime Elements, which took place at UARTSPACE in Seoul in 2020, mirrors the artist’s fundamental philosophy toward her artistic practice.

The exhibition featured the Schemata Chart, showing Kim’s artistic thinking system, thirty-three works selected from the BYR Prime Elements, and 3 BYR OS and BYR QUAD ORIGIN 1, the two works that expanded from the BYR Prime Elements series.

Kim Heejo's IN-STATION SCHEMATA CHART, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.

The Schemata Chart is a schematic system that shows the organic existence of the “whole” world. Based on her ideas, the artist developed solid concepts and terminology, which are reflected clearly in this chart.

The BYR OS series, the most representative work of the exhibition, is a selection of three units from the “Blue,” “Yellow,” and “Red” groups that are combined into a single group of artworks. The piece shows how the concept of “Schemata” expands from BYR Prime Elements.

Kim Heejo, "BYR OS 1," 2021
Kim Heejo, "BYR OS 2," 2020

BYR QUAD ORIGIN 1 is a work consisting of a blue square, a yellow triangle, and a red circle on a single canvas. The work is an homage to all abstract artworks created from the early days to the present, as well as a reflection of the artist’s fundamental concepts and principles for continuing her artistic practices.

Exhibition view of “BYR: Prime Elements,” 2020, UARTSPACE, Seoul, Korea

The artworks featured in the exhibition result from the artist’s long efforts to discover her identity, values, and views as a contemporary artist. The artist emphasizes the role of an artwork as a medium that conveys meaning rather than its formal completion, based on the belief that a new form of art is no longer meaningful and that the world does not exist individually but is organically interconnected.

Consequently, BYR Prime Elements can be viewed as the artist Kim Heejo’s achievement in developing a unique perspective on the art world. Kim has created her artistic language, which integrates all contemporary art forms, such as painting, sculpture, objects, and installation, into Schematic Medium.

Artist Kim Heejo. Courtesy of the artist.

Artist Kim Heejo earned a BFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (2006) and an MFA from the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture (2018).

After having her first solo exhibition, Hello, Dolly! at the Galleria Gil Eroici Furori in Milan in 2009, Kim mainly worked in the United States. In 2010, Kim’s solo exhibition, The Series, was featured at the Blank Space Gallery in New York, and her first solo exhibition in Korea, BYR: Prime Elements, was held at UARTSPACE in Seoul in 2020.

She also participated in many group exhibitions, including the Centotto Gallery (New York, USA), the Bowery Gallery (New York, USA), the Main Gallery (New York, USA), the Inter Alia Gallery (Seoul, Korea), the Insa Art Center (Seoul, Korea), and the Gana Art Center (Seoul, Korea).