Choi Hyeong-gil

Choi Hyeong-gil(KIDARI GALLERY)

Choi Hyung-gil’s paintings reflect the laughable yet unfortunate reality where personal and social desires clash over the minimal requirement of survival we call “house” through fossilized gray scenes. The artist consoles and cures the pain of this age through his unique cartoonish painting style.

Choi Hyeong-gil is a painter who makes paintings that show the busy lives of modern people through the character “Mr. Kim.”

His works are filled with images of houses, which are considered the source of happiness and the definition of wealth by modern people.
The houses are symbolic expressions of large sums of money, and Choi’s paintings that portray these houses reflect the minds and thoughts of modern people who keep themselves busy every day to step closer to their dreams.
As a child, Choi Hyeong Gil wanted to become a cartoonist. He was fascinated by art during a visit to an artist’s studio in college, which led him to start his own career in art. In 2008, the artist was awarded a special prize at the 27th Grand Art Exhibition of Korea.
Choi, who dexterous by nature, makes both paintings and wooden sculptures, and also draws on his sculptures as if they are canvases. In 2021, Choi was named an invited artist by Art Revolution Taipei.

The artist, who once dreamed of becoming a cartoonist, became a civil engineer student, but started taking painting classes because he could not give up his dream. Since then, he has been working as an artist, and in 2008, he was named the winner of a special prize at the Grand Art Exhibition of Korea.

Choi Hyeong-gil’s iconic series Mr. Kim Runs Today is currently drawing attention from domestic and foreign collectors. In addition to painting, Choi makes extremely fine sculptures with soil and wood.

Mr. Kim, who is portrayed running vigorously, or taking a short break with a sip of coffee and a cigarette, or with children on weekends, captures the life of the breadwinner we see in our daily lives.

Choi is also known for the sincerity for art he reflects in his work. His works are full of small houses which are meticulously drawn with ink pens, showing the amount of time, perseverance, patience, and passion required to paint them. His sculptures, which are the results of bringing the characters in the painting out to the real space, are also carefully colored and painted.

Choi Hyeong-gil
dropping out of Kangwon National University
an individual exhibition
2022 16th ‘Mr. Kim, Running Again’ (Long Leg Gallery, Daegu)
2021 15th “Mr. Kim, Run Again” (Long Leg Gallery, Daegu)
2020 14th “Today” (Long Leg Gallery, Daegu)
2019 13th “Today” (Kidari Gallery, Daegu)
2018 12th (Gallery Artrier, Anyang)
2017 11th (Rooftop Art Lounge Tom, Seoul)
2016 10th (Gallery Tom & Toms Blue Crab Branch, Seoul)
2016 9th (Gallery Poesto, Seoul)
2016 8th (Gallery Tom & Toms Cheongdam Branch, Seoul)
2016 7th (Gallery Mind, Seoul)
2016 6th (Gallery Yerang, Seoul)
2016 5th (Gallery Godo, Seoul)
2016 4th (Gangdong Kyung Hee University Oriental Medicine Hospital Gallery Maeum, Seoul)
2016 3th (Belief Gallery, Ansan)
2016 2th (Gallery IV, Seoul)
2016 1th “THE HAPPY?” (Gallery Hall, Seoul)
a team match
2021 Kidari Gallery X Gallery Banditraso Exclusive Artist Exchange Exhibition: Accompanying (Kidari Gallery, Daegu)
Sobok Sobok (Ocean Gallery, Gyeongju)InOVATION Exhibition before the opening of the
2020 Tall Bridge Gallery (Kidari Gallery, Daegu) 5+5 Exhibition for the 5th anniversary of the opening of the before
2019 Tall Bridge Gallery (Kidari Gallery, Daegu)
Gallery Tom Group Exhibition (Gallery Insa Art, Seoul)
2018 Adman Exhibition (Seokpajeong Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul)
2016 Seojeong Art Center New Artist Planning Invitation Future View (Seojeong Art Center, Seoul)
2015 ‘I am an unknown artist’ ( (11.24`11.29 Arco Museum of Art Seoul)
2014 Human Life ( (Seoul Creative Personality Education Center Gallery we)
2013 Meet Zombies in Tehran Road ( (Gallery Imajoo)
2011 Paintings and People ( (Alvaro Siza Hall)
Emotional Writers’ Association Regular Exhibition (Gwanghwarang, Sejong Cultural Center)
los angeles +Seoul 18Artist展 (메이준 갤러리)
New Artist Discovery Project 2011 ( (God’s Hand Gallery)
2010 Art 2010 Exhibition (Ansan Danwon Exhibition Hall)
Sophia Art New Artist Contest (AW Convention Center)
Sohnasia Art Cultural Foundation 1st and 2nd exhibition of emerging artists (Gallery Hall)
Gyeongin Year Message from Contemporary Art Artists ( (Hyundai Department Store Sinchon Branch U-plex Exhibition Hall)
2009 Art Library Campaign-Seoul ( (Mapo-gu Office)
Autumn in Art Exhibition (Hyundai Department Store Sinchon Branch U-plex Exhibition Hall)
premiere & review exhibition (alternative space team preview)
a large number of others

Curator: Daehyung Lee & Artists: Hyung-gil Choi


Q. Small houses tightly packed into the figure’s head in your paintings are quite impressive. What is the special story behind them?
Houses are the most basic units that directly exhibit people’s desire today—the desire for capital. House (shelter) is a minimum requirement for survival, yet it has even turned into a symbol of social classification, and that is where the unfortunate reality and the unconquerable dilemma of people today begin.


Q. If you are trying to symbolize capital and desire, I don’t think you need to limit yourself to using only houses. Are you considering any alternatives?
I used cars and watches as symbols of capital in my previous works, but now the focus is on houses. One’s survival isn’t threatened by the absence of cars and watches, but that is not the case with houses. That is why it is a more fundamental desire and a greater challenge.


Q. The houses in your paintings look like identical units or modules. Where do the shapes of these houses, which are iconic to your work now, originate from?
They come from multiplex houses in the neighborhood I lived in when I was young. The houses are so tightly packed that it almost feels like you can’t breathe, and I fill the canvas with the scene of desire by only allowing minimal variations to how they look. They are certainly not luxurious houses, but the fact that Mr. Kim is working so hard for it is sad.


Q. How many houses are there inside Mr. Kim’s head?
I never counted them. But if I focus on painting them all day long without any interruption, I can paint in enough houses to fill a space the size of four of my hands.


Q. It feels as though you are stacking bricks, one by one, to build a cathedral. Yes, we live in a capitalist world, but interpreting houses simply as capital can limit their meanings. Rather, they create a scenery through layers of effort and time, and those sceneries remind us of human desire, or more accurately, a jumble of social desires. The houses also resemble rocks, marble slabs, and bleached out fossils that have been stripped of their unique individualities. What if you imagine the entire gallery space as a comic book and expand your universe by having each work link new figures and new backgrounds by chapter in each of their spaces?
I certainly want to use my past experience as a cartoonist and give a shot at making a new story into a three-dimensional story.