Guguism, a new modern classic, stamped with fingers

Gugu Kim character special exhibition opens at Shilla Hotel Pink Art Fair on March 22nd 강영훈 기자l승인2024.03.21l수정2024.03.21 10:49






▲ Finger Painter Gugu Kim

Finger painting is a painting technique in which paint is applied to the fingers or palm of the hand. The paints are mixed with glue or water, and this creates a distinctive, chunky, sensory painting. It is often used in children’s art education and psychological art therapy because it stimulates the sense of touch and color and stimulates people’s emotions, and it allows for more freedom and variety of expression than a brush. Finger painting has a long history, and the late Joseon painter Shim Seong-jung was a famous finger-painter.  


Fingerprinting is revolutionizing contemporary art with its unique blend of humor, emotion, and black-and-white contrast on canvas

Finger painter Gugu Kim is an artist who is making waves in contemporary art by expressing his personality through finger painting. Critics say his work is influenced by Spanish painter Joan Miró and outsider art. Joan Miró is known as one of the leading painters of 20th-century surrealism and abstract art, characterized by bright, vibrant colors and a unique approach to form and composition. Gugu Kim also uses bright colors to express childlike, innocent humor and emotion. His use of colorful patterns is reminiscent of the work of 19th-century French Divisionist painters and French pointillists such as Georges Seurat and Paul Signac, who used numerous colored dots. His black-and-white paintings in particular stand out for their distinctive black-and-white contrast with realistic depictions, and his unique sensibility. “I only paint what I want to paint,” he says about the source of his unique sensibility. His finger painting is more like stamping than painting, using his fingertips to stamp ink, creating his work in repetitive motions.


Repetitive stamping creates contrast and dimension in finger stamping

‘Christ Meets Buddha’ world tour to open this fall in time for Thanksgiving

He works primarily with ink, charcoal, and ash, and uses canvas to create a contrast between the black ink and the white canvas to create a more intense and immediate visual image. He said “I take the powder, using only my hands and the moisture in the air, and dip my fingers in it, one at a time, and if you keep layering it like that, it’s light at first, but then it gets darker.” This mode of expression is known as the dry method, and it’s rare to find a painter who paints on canvas with method. His paintings of animals, flowers, people, portraits, and holy images, which he rarely redoes, are diverse in their spectrum. His holy images in particular focus on faith, a common characteristic of all religions. He even inserted a message of celebration in his painting of the Last Supper, using the Hun-Min-Jeong-Eum.

He has had over 50 solo exhibitions and over 500 group and invitational exhibitions, including a two-person Michelangelo Gugu Kim collaboration in 2016, a special exhibition at the German Art Fair in 2018, and a solo pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019. His work is also in the collection of the Harvard Art Museum, USA. In 2018, he opened his private art gallery, Gugu Art Museum, in Manhattan, New York, and in 2022, he opened the Gugu Art Museum in Seogwipo, Jeju. Through these activities and evaluations, he has been recognized as a master of modern classics, and his paintings have been recognized as a new genre called Guguism. This year, Gugu Kim character special exhibition opens at Shilla Hotel Pink Art Fair on March 22 to 24. Also, ‘Christ Meets Buddha’ world tour is set to open this fall in time for Thanksgiving. Kim will showcase more than 200 of his masterpieces, including The Virgin and Child Jesus, The Last Supper, The Great Contrast, Suwol Kwan Yin Do, and Art is One.

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