Cavaliero Finn first encountered the beautiful work of Sun Kim when we were visiting her studio in south east London. Later, while chatting to another of our artists, Annie Turner, Sun was described as one of the most accomplished ceramicists Annie had come across. We knew then that we needed to follow Sun’s developments closely and when we saw her latest geometric vessels we were completely bowled over.
Hot on the heels of showing her work for the first time at Collect, we talk to her about her work and the inspiration behind it.
How did you become a ceramicist?
I became a ceramicist by accident. I always wanted to be an architect from a very young age. Somehow I ended up going to a fine art university back home in Brazil, where I’d been introduced to ceramics. Since then I have never stopped.
Tell us about your latest body of work
My new series of geometric vessels are individually content but also work very well in groups. It’s a language of work that I’ve been developing and refining for the last few years. It’s a play with geometry and composition.
Walk us through making one of your vessels… what materials and techniques do you use?
They are all made with stoneware, fired to high temperature. I use my throwing wheel as the starting point of my work, making a lot of cylinders of different sizes in one go. Then the cutting, folding, joining, altering, shaping and finalising the work happens on the table
Where do you get your inspiration and how do you come up with new work?
The act of making work often leads to ideas that progress within the next piece. I also try to be attentive to my surroundings in everyday life. I believe that a lot of information is consciously and unconsciously stored in our heads waiting to be used at the right moment.
You are Korean, born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Brazil. You’ve spent time studying in New York and you now live in London. What influence has this culturally diverse pathway had on your work?
I gathered different visual and technical information from the places I’ve been. It certainly has broadened my cultural experience, bringing conscious and unconscious influence within my work.
What drives you to work?
I love problem solving. It still excites me every time ideas are formed in my head and I can see them developing through my hands.
You work as an assistant to internationally acclaimed ceramicist Edmund de Waal. What have you learnt from him?
Sophistication and contemporary aesthetics within my work
Are there any other artists that particularly inspire you?
Richard Serra, Annie Albers, James Turrell and Anne Currier and I’m inspired by a number of architects too, particularly the minimalist and the brutalist, Robert Irwin.
You have work in the Museum of Northern Ireland and Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art, Japan, how does it feel to know that your work has been recognised in this way?
It gives me more reassurance and freedom to make what I want to make. It’s great!