It's incredible just how versatile paper can be. For that reason, many artists choose to sculpt with the pliable material, and South Korean artist Ilhwa Kim is one of them. She fashions mesmerizing sculptural “paintings” from tiny hand-rolled and dyed paper seeds. Her colorful creations are densely populated by the furled tubes of paper that stack to form intricate hills, valleys, and pathways as they shift and transform with the passing of light and shadow.
“My works endlessly search and express the timeline of how our senses are being organized and developed as experience goes further,” Kim tells My Modern Met. “How we understand us as human beings and how we perceive our world depend on the working ways of these organic senses. There comes diverse perceptions and different ways of life.”
Kim refers to the smallest unit of her work as a “seed”—a tiny, grainlike piece that is crafted from a blank white sheet of paper. “The smallest seed unit has all the required elements to achieve its own world concealed: line, circle, and then fluctuating line and rolled circles, finally gaining individual heights,” she explains. “The bigger focus has been put on the imaginative growing potential of the ‘seed.’ In my works, the seeds get combined and make fluctuating big color canvas in unexpected forms as the tiny solid seed in the natural world transforms into a surprisingly huge tree.”
It is easy to get lost in the crooks and crevices of Kim’s textured masterpieces, which are overwhelming in their immense form and staggering detail. With each labyrinthine work made up of thousands of tiny seeds, one can only imagine the dedicated attention and meticulous work that goes into crafting each paper sculpture. Scroll down to see more images of Ilhwa Kim’s incredible paper pieces, and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up with her latest work.