b. 1976 Seoul, Korea; Lives and works in New York, NY and Seoul, Korea
Sangbin IM (b. 1976 Seoul, Korea) is an artist known for his vibrant composite photographs, each made up of hundreds of images taken over a series of days and embedded with painted surfaces. IM’s works seamlessly blend painting and photography, integrating the two mediums to create a hyperrealist vision of the world for an increasingly technocratic future. A key element of IM’s practice is a consideration of technology’s growing importance in the modern age. In fact, within IM’s most recent works, technology frequently makes the transition from being a digital tool that aids and enhances the artist’s hand, to becoming the actual subject of his art. “I have been trained as a traditional painter, but the artistic possibility of new media has always fascinated me.” IM explains. “I intend to bridge traditional and current technology to envision new forms of discourse.”
Bridging the relationship between fantasy and reality, IM’s work frequently begins with the subject of the urban environment. The artist manipulates and idealizes his subject in order to create a utopian vision of a place. Altering scale, exaggerating color saturation, and combining digital images with a painterly surface, IM creates works that challenge viewers’ perceptions and conflate illusion and reality. The landscapes that he depicts are photographed over different periods of time and from a wide range of angles before being re-assembled to compose the final image. This process results in nearly cubistic compositions that trick the viewer into thinking they are familiar with the scene they are observing. Notably, his dynamic, composite recreations of famous tourist destinations and cultural places around the world explore the way these sites have become global spaces, instantly recognizable and unrecognizable at the same time.
IM received his MFA in painting and printmaking at Yale University as a Fulbright scholar. He received his doctorate from Columbia University, and currently teaches at Sungshin University in Seoul. IM lives and works in New York, NY and Seoul, Korea.
His work has been the subject of notable solo and group exhibitions at Museum1, Busan, Korea (2022); Soul Art Space, Busan, Korea (2021); Kimchungup Architecture Museum, Anyang, Korea (2019); Hanwon Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea (2019); Artrium Museum, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain (2015); Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan City, Korea (2016); Museo Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2014); Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea (2011); Royal Academy of Arts, London, England (2010); Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn, AL (2010); and the Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul, Korea (2003), among others.
His work is also included in major public collections such as the Artrium Museum, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain; Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts, Auburn, AL; Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art, Ansan City, Korea; Museum of Sungshin Women’s University, Seoul, Korea; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Seoul National University Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; and the Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea.