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Christine Sun Kim

An image of Christine sitting on a window ledge wearing black and white Max Creasy
Christine Sun Kim’s practice considers how sound operates in society, deconstructing the politics of sound and exploring how oral languages operate as social currency. Musical notation, written language, infographics, American Sign Language (ASL), the use of the body, and strategically deployed humor are all recurring elements in her practice. Working across drawing, performance, video and large-scale murals, Kim explores her relationship to spoken languages, to her built and social environments, and to the world at large.

Christine's three month residency from January to April 2023 was part of Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy, a returning series focusing on individual and collective health and wellbeing through a programme of newly commissioned artworks, films, workshops, and conversations. The focus of the year surrounded disability justice and artists who engage with the space of health and care.
Tackling the wellness trends and the mythology of the ‘good body’ and its interconnectedness with capitalism, Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy (HF,UH) seeked to explore its perceived binary opposite – ‘sickness’. HF,UH aimed to explore an inclusive framework of existence for all via the voices who encounter systemic oppression and stigmatisation around disability, chronic illness and mental health.
The series asked how can we imagine and shape a future where meaningful care and resistance are thought of as standard? Where all bodies and lives are centred – not existing in ‘othered’ relation to white supremacist, patriarchal, ableist culture – but are represented and celebrated on their own terms?
A still from CSK's work Invisible Christine Sun Kim

Video Work, Goethe-Institut Library, until 20 May 2023
Classified Digits

Classified Digits saw Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader translate a series of day-to-day social encounters into American Sign Language. By using the arm game, a popular kids game in the US, they explored the pitfalls of miscommunication. They each enacted just one part of the conversation, with Kim using non-manual signs, which gave inflection and context to Mader’s manual signs. The artists introduced an avatar, represented by the index finger, into a series of increasingly awkward and often ridiculous situations.

The flag made by the CSK Family hanging outside of our building Anne Tetzlaff

Lecture: 23.03.2023 7 PM
A Song About Family

We were delighted to host Christine Sun Kim’s and Thomas Mader’s lecture on their art practice as a family. In their lecture, they investigated the beauty and challenge of family cocreation and provided insights into the unconventional flag that was waving at the Goethe-Institut London. 

The original sketch by Roux for the flag Christine Sun Kim

A Song About Family

During their stay, the Kim/Mader family created a flag, which hung outside of our building in South Kensington. Find out more about the flag here. 

An image of a star by Christine Sun Kim © Christine Sun Kim

Event: 31 March–21 May 2023
Christine Sun Kim: Edges of Sign Language

Christine Sun Kim also presented her new commission Edges of Sign Language in the intimate Gallery 31 space at Somerset House Studios from 31 March to 21 May 2023. Expanding on her practice of drawing with charcoal by designing and building shaped canvases that represent the limitations of physical space through an American Sign Language lense. Kim seeked to visualise the tensions between notations, marks, shapes and, most importantly, edges.

Edges of Sign Language was commissioned by Somerset House in collaboration with Goethe-Institut London.

In conversation with Christine Sun Kim

Born in Southern California, Kim has been residing in Germany’s capital for the last 10 years with her husband Thomas Mader, and daughter Roux. However, for the next three months, they will be calling South Kensington home. 

Kim is an internationally acclaimed sound artist whose works have been displayed by a plethora of galleries including White Space (Beijing), MoMA (New York), Art Institute (Chicago), François Ghebaly Gallery (Los Angeles) De Appel Arts Center (Amsterdam) and LACMA (Los Angeles). Far from a stranger to London, Kim has been represented here many times already. In 2019, we supported her Art Night commission “We Mean Business” - a collaboration with students at Frank Barnes School for Deaf Children in King’s Cross. Her work has also been shown at eminent institutions such as the Tate and the now-closed Caroll/Fletcher gallery in Soho.

Whilst she joins us here in London for her residency, her exhibition Cues on Point is being presented from the 17th of February until the 16th of April 2023 at Secession in Vienna. For Secession, Kim will produce a book that contains empty scores drawn by a variety of artist friends (54 contributors) as well as her husband and daughter.

Part 1 and 2 of her interviews can be found below:
A photo of Christine sitting outside with sunglasses on Mark Abramson

In conversation with Christine Sun Kim: Part 1

Keen to find out more, we caught up with Kim and interpreter Denise Kahler-Braaten at the end of January to talk about residency expectations, unexpected Berlin love stories, and what it means to “own a space”.

Sign in the sky saying "The Sound of No Fight" © Lee Baxter for Manchester International Festival, UK

In conversation with Christine Sun Kim: Part 2

In the second part of the interview, we dug deeper into what it means to be not only a female artist, but also a mother, Christine’s most meaningful pieces and what she wants people to feel when they view her artwork.