The project

Dae Uk Kim uses objects as alter egos to express, explain and fulfil his dreams and desires. Desires that he had to suppress and hide while growing up in Korea. By making mutated objects, he now converts his shame into pride as a designer. Dae Uk Kim explores themes like gender expression, race and cultural identity by combining various mediums with the creation of physical objects. His MUTANT series can be seen as functional objects – a chandelier, mirror, stool and console – but the most important thing for him is the narrative. By depicting non-human things as beings, he brings the underlying story to life.

Expert panel

Dae Uk Kim uses materials that traumatised him when he was growing up, and reappropriates those objects in order to re-write his story. An extremely personal response to a very public system and therein lies the power of his work: its deeply personal nature is what makes his work universal and recognisable for many who feel they have to hide a part of themselves. His signature style is gentle and sympathetic, giving shape to a seductive kind of activism. His work is elegant and layered; instantly intriguing. He has incorporated his own background and symbolism into an ingenious and rich design. Even without recognising that, it is attractive and original.

— “Dae Uk Kim has incorporated his own background and symbolism into ingenious and rich designs, and it is this deeply personal approach that makes his work universal.”

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