Atta Kim

Artist Atta Kim utilises photography to express ideas relating to human existence through his work; meditations on humanity and nature.

Having used ice at the start of this module to express ideas about fragility and transience, I found that Kim has used ice as a subject for photography as well as in scupltural form.  “Ice is a very fascinating material. It is an ideal material that reflects between existence and inexistence, infinite and finiteness, and between ideology of religious icon and the rule of nature. It is the same H2O, yet ice and water, their identity is different. The water becomes clouds by evaporation, and becomes the life of the ground by rain. At this point, there is human history, politics, religion and everything of ideology.” (Atta Kim,

Atta Kim is creating a philosophy for himself to live by through his work.  His solitary processes are something I could connect with, how the processes of solitude carry ones thoughts and experiences to other places, but through the sharing of the images in exhibitions and books also prompts thought in others.  His solitude seems key to his work processes and output.

“The artist should become lonelier. There is despair at the end of loneliness, and serenity is found at the position of despair. Newness awaits me there. It is difficult to explain in words the experience of this process. It is a splendid blessing.” (Atta Kim,

On humanity, Kim’s “On-Air” project “amounts to an extended meditation […] he regards his photographs as the by-product of his effort to develop a personal philosophy of life.” (

“Among his chief influences are the Asian spiritual disciplines, especially Zen Buddhism; the writings of the German philosopher Martin Heidegger on the role of time in human existence; and the teachings of the Russian-Armenian mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. From these sources, Atta Kim has devised a set of “image training” techniques that he describes as crucial to the generation of his photographs” (


Header image:  Atta Kim (2004) ON-AIR Project, Monologue of Ice, 24 Hours.
Available at:
(Accessed 17 April 2019) (2006) International Centre for Photography, news release, Atta Kim: On-Air, Available at: (Accessed 17 April 2019)

Kim, A. in (2017) Le Journal interviews: Atta Kim interview , April 17th 2017. Available at (Accessed 17 April 2019)