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Excerpt from the Korea Times

Kim’s newfound career as a fine art photographer however, would take flight when his “hanbok” (traditional Korean dress) series created a stir at the Asian Contemporary Art Fair in New York last month.

With all 10 editions of “Cloth of Wind” (1996) and “Nipple” (2006) sold out at prices far above the anticipated mark, it was a spectacular debut. It was Kim’s first time participating in an art fair. He had previously avoided it out of respect, because as a commercial artist he felt it was not his “turf”.

Kim had started the hanbok series more than a decade ago with esteemed hanbok designer Lee Young-hee. It was, above all, an enlightening experience. “I was shooting fashion spreads with models sporting Chanel. But when I saw our models in hanbok, it came as a shock that our grandmothers and mothers can also be this beautiful”.

“I believe this is the true image of Korea. The hanbok project transcends any commercial means or even my own artistic goals ― it is the simple act of recording. Through this process of recording I came across the great artist Shin Youn-bok,” he said.

Kim was inspired by antique pornographic postcards depicting breast-bearing Korean women as well as erotic paintings by 18th-century Joseon (1392-1910) painter Shin Youn-bok.

“Shin was extremely modern ― the women’s hair is let down loose and disheveled, and the breasts and hips are exposed ― and being able to paint in such a way greatly inspired me,” he said. Kim is currently working on the Shin Youn-bok series, which is a continuation of his hanbok series. He plans to exhibit the pieces at the New York art fair next fall.

“There is something holy and truly beautiful about hanbok-clad women. But I am portraying it with my own style. Maybe 100 years later another artist will express it differently”, he said.

(Read the full text at


Presentation by the Cernuschi Museum, Paris

Kim Jungman has been working on the Hanbok series for more than ten years. It is during a shooting for Chanel with models dressed in hanbok that he first realised that this traditional clothing constituted the true image of Korea. The Korean kings of the Lee dynasty (1392-1910) codified the way clothing was worn. Each segment of the Korean society was recognisable thanks to their way of dressing, especially during marriages and funerals. Beyond fashion photography, Kim Jungman explores the complexity and the diversity of this traditional costume by confronting it with the contemporary world and by immersing the viewer in Korea’s history.