Artist Creates Paper “Seeds” to Compose Dense Landscapes of Unexpected Forms

It’s incredible just how versatile paper can be. For that reason, many artists choose to sculpt with the pliable material, and South Korean artist Ilhwa Kim is one of them. She fashions mesmerizing sculptural “paintings” from tiny hand-rolled and dyed paper seeds. Her colorful creations are densely populated by the furled tubes of paper that stack to form intricate hills, valleys, and pathways as they shift and transform with the passing of light and shadow.

“My works endlessly search and express the timeline of how our senses are being organized and developed as experience goes further,” Kim tells My Modern Met. “How we understand us as human beings and how we perceive our world depend on the working ways of these organic senses. There comes diverse perceptions and different ways of life.”

Kim refers to the smallest unit of her work as a “seed”—a tiny, grainlike piece that is crafted from a blank white sheet of paper. “The smallest seed unit has all the required elements to achieve its own world concealed: line, circle, and then fluctuating line and rolled circles, finally gaining individual heights,” she explains. “The bigger focus has been put on the imaginative growing potential of the ‘seed.’ In my works, the seeds get combined and make fluctuating big color canvas in unexpected forms as the tiny solid seed in the natural world transforms into a surprisingly huge tree.”

It is easy to get lost in the crooks and crevices of Kim’s textured masterpieces, which are overwhelming in their immense form and staggering detail. With each labyrinthine work made up of thousands of tiny seeds, one can only imagine the dedicated attention and meticulous work that goes into crafting each paper sculpture. Scroll down to see more images of Ilhwa Kim’s incredible paper pieces, and follow the artist on Instagram to keep up with her latest work.

South Korean artist Ilhwa Kim fashions intricate paper sculptures from tiny hand-rolled paper “seeds.”

Paper Sculpture Paintings by Ilhwa Kim

“Space Sample 19,” 2019

Colorful Paper Sculptures by Ilhwa Kim

“Space Station 4,” 2018

Paper Sculpture Paintings by Ilhwa Kim

“Space Sample 30 & 31,” diptych, 2019

Kim handcrafts and dyes each individual seed, starting with a blank white sheet of paper.

Paper Sculpture Paintings by Ilhwa Kim

“Space Sample 12,” 2017

Colorful Paper Sculptures by Ilhwa Kim

“Space Sample 20,” 2019

Colorful Paper Sculptures by Ilhwa Kim

“Seed Conversation,” 2017

Colorful Paper Sculptures by Ilhwa Kim

“Seed Portrait 3,” 2016

Colorful Paper Sculptures by Ilhwa Kim

“Seed Portrait 4,” 2016

With each one made up of thousands of tiny seeds, one can only imagine the dedication and meticulous work that goes into each masterpiece.

Paper Sculpture Paintings by Ilhwa Kim

“White Portrait 36,” 2020

Paper Sculpture Paintings by Ilhwa Kim

“White Portrait 2,” (Detail), 2017

Ilhwa Kim: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Ilhwa Kim.

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