Born in North Wales to Vietnamese refugee parents, Kimvi grew up in Southampton, England. Since graduating from Winchester School of Art in 2011 Kimvi has traveled widely, using her practice to create a poetic and peaceful visual narrative and a sense of balance in environments, that appear irreconcilable with notions of harmony. Integral to Kimvi’s approach is the creation of site specific responses that sensitively engage with her environment. Her resources come directly from the histories, traditions, languages, and materials of the cultures and communities Kimvi encounters. Kimvi’s spirit for a shared experience of peace has taken her from English Cathedrals to an ex-naval base island in Russia (2014) the latter is shown in the film below.
Kimvi’s ability to respond to the challenge of the unexpected whilst ‘on site’ is part of Kimvi’s balancing process. She uses ‘non art’ locations to platform her work, (both inside and open to the elements), combining the innate language, history, context, geography of her chosen ‘environment’, with her unique poetics and always as a way to invite audiences to experience, share and participate in a reflective process.
Her sensitivity towards environment and audience has seen Kimvi’s art in sites of sacred places. For example, as part of the Holocaust Memorial Day held each year at Winchester Cathedral in England, Kimvi facilitated a public durational performance and installation ’Space For Peace’ evoking a space for meditation and reflection. (2012/2013) Participants were invited to individually create a personal mandala from matchsticks directly onto the cathedral floor, whilst kneeling on prayer cushions.
Kimvi’s responses are a constant exploration and a reminder of personal and shared conflict within the world she inhabits, creating an environment for reflection. During Kimvi’s NCCA Artist in Residence on Kronstadt, Kotlin Island in Russia (2015) Kimvi’s referenced the 70 year anniversary of Victory Day, commemorating the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. Two hundred grey latex balloons purchased in St Petersburg and inflated individually by the artist were installed inside the remains of war gun defenses littering the island of Kronstadt. ‘Gunmetal Grey Balloons, Artist Breath’ was a temporary installation, documented through photography and balloon sound recordings and presented to the Russian audience at the Taiga Art Space. The responses were seen as a sensitive and direct reminder of the past and the conflict of current wars.
Kimvi’s awareness, engagement, and response to her physical environment are deeply considered. Purposely chosen objects or materials are used as signifiers. In certain contexts, Kimvi chooses to use her body as an integral part of the poetics of her work. In ‘Sign for P E A C E’ she chose to place her body under extreme duress for three hours in order to maintain the repeated semaphore message ‘P E A C E’. Kimvi’s ‘Sign for P E A C E’ (2017), originally a 3-hour durational performance at The Flatbread Society Allotments in Oslo, Norway and performed again outside The Nobel Peace Centre, Oslo.