Sung Hwan Kim, Hair is a piece of head, 2021 / Video still / Courtesy of the artist
Sung Hwan Kim: Protected by roof and right-hand muscles
Dec 2, 2023 – May 12, 2024
Van Abbemuseum
Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Wander through ten rooms in which artist Sung Hwan Kim (1975, South Korea) brings dreamy environments to life. In his exhibition Sung Hwan Kim: Protected by roof and right-hand muscles, video installations mix with collage, performance, music and light. Kim, both artist and designer of the exhibition, takes you into his poetic world of innovative storytelling.

People have always moved around the world. They often not only adopt the culture of their new home, but in return also influence it with their own traditions. This also applies to artist Sung Hwan Kim, who often lives in different places for long periods of time. Borders and migration are recurring themes in his work. Sung Hwan Kim: Protected by roof and right-hand muscles is Kim’s largest solo exhibition to date in Europe and brings together works from more than 20 years of practice. For example, the film installation Love before Bond (2017); a fairy tale about two people who have never met. The work arose from Kim’s fascination with his niece’s unrest in the transition years from teenager to adult (she also plays in the film). As a Korean-American woman in the United States, she searches for space in the existing image of the marginalized. Kim’s niece is not the only one who plays a role in his work, many of Kim’s works include contributions and performances from musician and composer David Michael DiGregorio (aka dogr).

Unique to Sung Hwan Kim: Protected by roof and right-hand muscles is that Kim is both the artist and designer of the exhibition. He wants visitors to trust their feelings and emotions and therefore adds sensory elements to the exhibition. For example, the walls of the work Dog Video (2006) – a film about power relations and the artist who investigates with his authoritarian father – are covered with sheets of wafer-thin paper. When you walk past these they move and crackle. Your presence influences the exhibition.

The artist invites visitors to reflect on their own relationship with borders and migration. The Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven is the perfect place for this. From Philips’ guest workers in the last century to the thousands of knowledge workers of the current expat community: migration is closely interwoven with the city’s DNA. After an open studio project at Framer Framed last spring, Sung Hwan Kim: Protected by roof and right-hand muscles is Kim’s first major European solo exhibition. After the Van Abbemuseum, the exhibition will make an international tour to, among others, ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe and the Art Sonje Center in Seoul.

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