11. What are the subjects, issues, and themes important to artists working today?

I feel many people are conscious of gender, race, war, religion, and personal issues in today’s society, and as an artist, it is important to be aware of what is happening in our society, and the current events might inspire some work of art. At the same time, I do not think that contemporary artists always have to follow social issues or any types of norm of subjects. Richard Serra was inspired from his childhood memory of a ship, and Sally Mann was inspired by the nature that surrounds her. These subjects are original to each artist, and I feel they are equally interesting to someone who follows general issues or themes. Ultimately, artists seem to make art according to what is important to themselves.

As a contemporary artist, I like to work with something personal rather than social issues. Appreciation to nature and experiences in life often show up in my work as main subjects.


2 thoughts on “11. What are the subjects, issues, and themes important to artists working today?

  1. “I actually started sewing pieces, using a needle as a tool, when I prepared bed covers with my mother in 1993. And that was the moment when I was also searching for the structure of the world—the inner structure of the world—and also searching as a painter for the structure of the surface. I was mostly interested in vertical and horizontal structures at the time, so I’ve been trying to see every single hidden structure in that perspective and then trying to find the right methodology to express that. When I was putting a needle into the silky fabric, I had a kind of exhilarating feeling, like my head was hit by a thunderbolt. And I felt the whole energy of the universe pass through my body and to this needle point through the fabric. I just was so struck by that fact and I thought, “This is it. This is the structure I was looking for.” And it was interesting, too, because the fabric itself had a vertical and horizontal structure in it. And the sewing had another circulative, performative element, but at the same time, always the connection between art and life. And that’s how my work started, from just daily life activities.” -Kimsooja

    Just like Richard Serra and Sally Mann, Kimsooja was inspired by her own past memories and things things around her. These experiences led to the themes and issues they all tackle. Each artist is going to have different personal issues because they are coming from different backgrounds.


  2. I agree, not all art needs to be about social issues or “standard” subjects. Sometimes work is deeply personal. I like the idea of social issues and personal experiences blending. I think it can say so much more when there is a personal investment in the work.


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