Christine Sun Kim was born in 1980 in Orange County, California, and currently lives and works in Berlin. She earned an MFA in sound and music at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in 2013. Kim explores concepts of sound, its visual representations, and how it is valued in society from her perspective as part of the Deaf community. Kim leads her to focus her artistic career on exploring the materiality of sound through various mediums such as visual art, composition, performance, and more. Her work dives into the sensory-rich process of connecting sound to drawing, painting, etc. Kim investigates and reframes her relationship with sound and spoken languages by using audience’s voice as her own, the images of her work reflect her training in experimental sound based on technology and conceptualism in art.
Kim has had numerous solo exhibitions, including Another Day Rising into Being, Deutsche Oper, Berlin (2020); Christine Sun Kim: Off the Charts, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2020); Lautplan, Art Institute of Chicago (2018); Busy Days, De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam (2017); and Almost a Score and Sound as a Dollar, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2015). Her public art installation Too Much Future (2018) was commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Recent group exhibitions include Magical Soup, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2020); We Fight to Build a Free World, Jewish Museum, New York (2020); Resonance: A Sound Art Marathon, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2019); the Whitney Biennial (2019); Soundtracks, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2017); and Resonant Spaces, Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (2017). She has received numerous grants and awards, including a Disability Future Fellowship through the Ford Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2020). Kim is represented by François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, and White Space Beijing.
Considering the fact that I was born deaf, my learning process is shaped by American Sign Language interpreters, subtitles on television, written conversations on paper, emails, and text messages. These communication modes have often conveyed, filtered, and limited information, which naturally leads to a loss of content and a delay in communication. Thus, my understanding of reality is filtered, and potentially distorted. This is part of the core of my practice as an artist and I am now taking ownership of sounds after years of speech therapy. Instead of seeking for one’s approval to make “correct” sounds, I perform, vocalize, and/or visually translate them based on my perception. As a visual and performance artist, it is always my intention to approach sound by constantly pushing it to a different level of physicality, and despite my complex relationship with Deaf culture, I attempt to translate sound while unlearning society’s views and etiquettes around it. Using my conceptual judgment and compromised understanding, I challenge and question its visual absence and sometime tactile presence. Fortunately, with today’s advanced technology such as computer programs and high bass speakers, I have been given alternative access to sound. It does not necessarily mean that it’s a mere substitute or replacement of sound.