Miru Kim: Excavating Beauty & Power through Vulnerability



Miru Kim: Excavating Beauty & Power through Vulnerability

I first saw Miru Kim’s work in December 2007 in Esquire magazine. I had been creating my own series of nudes on the land and felt she was doing something similar, excavating a sense of beauty and power through vulnerability. Her images are gorgeous, and I do believe the nudity is an essential to the process, a way to expose oneself and become transparent in the offering. We are fascinated by witnessing other humans, and the combination of derelict, abandoned spaces and a lithe feminine form is magnetic. It reminds us of our untamed natures, the parts of ourselves that are willing to surrender the unknown and receive a sense of sovereignty in return. Miru has chosen not to get too analytical about her work. The Esquire article merely says she used herself because it was the most convenient model she had. I appreciate an artist trying to maintain some privacy about their process, and a part of an artists offering to society is opening a dialogue for each of us to gain personal meaning and inspiration through another’s vision.

The work we each do continues the tradition of women artists who have used their own bodies as the primary vessels for their artistic expression. Ana Mendieta, Cindy Sherman, Anne Brigman, Joyce Tenneson, Julie Rrap, Hannah Wilke, and Francesca Woodman are all artists who used photographic self-portraiture to examine identity and relationship through the camera lens.

I am not simply speaking of women when I suggest we are all rebalancing the yielding yin with the forceful yang. Men are also questioning what is the way back to the dignity and integrity of the authentic masculine. For some women the way back to honoring their own strength is through becoming vulnerable; witnessing ourselves and dancing with the darkness of disclosure {dis-clothing/disrobe}. We are Inanna, the Goddess ascending the tunnels to the underworld, at each level releasing a sign of our status, our ego, our societal identification to become completely defenseless to the process at hand. For me, doing the work nude was a way to explore both my own self-referenced beauty and authority, as well as returning to an elemental connection to the earth.

Walking barefoot, naked, into the unknown is an initiation. It is an initiation into the wild freedom many of us have forgotten in our anesthized lives. Most people will not be called to explore the catacombs and hidden tunnels of our major cites as Miru has, or indigenously paint themselves and dance through graffiti covered tunnels and arroyos as I have, but the work Miru and I do can create a conversation about how domesticated and passionless our culture has become. We live vicariously through reality TV, searching for the vitality we have lost in the busyness, dissociated from the land and natural rhythms, fighting our primal fear of the regenerative life and death cycles. To open yourself and walk where few have chosen to tread is a remembrance of how to access the deep well of creativity and joy we all possess, through consciously engaging with the ancient initiatory methods of risk and exposure.


Great talk on Ted about her art and more of her images.


  1 comment for “Miru Kim: Excavating Beauty & Power through Vulnerability

  1. March 4, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    These ARE very vulnerable. The top one kind of freaks me out. I ADORED the TED talk!!! My genius is playful and warrior like. ha ha ha. OLAY!


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