a r t i s t i c

r e s e a r c h

p r e s e n t s

Eun-Hyung Kim>

- Curriculum Vitae

- Statement

- Drawings

- Exhibitions




- Index


- Walking on the street

- Post it

- Drawings of movements

- Bystander

- Ok? Alright!

- Street

- The tool that reminds of the absent presence


- The waist bends


- An observer park


- A wash place

- Performance 1minute

- Fishing in the forest

- Four men's journey to North Korea


- Meeting North Koreans in the Netherlands

- Jelly bear

- Air out your dirty laundry

- Missing dogs



Copyright © 2017 | Eun Hyung Kim






Exhibition: Call for Drawings, BAK, Lange Nieuwstraat 4, 24 June - 12 July 2015
Hours: We-Su: 12-18h
Opening: June 24: 16-18h












I am raising a child. It involves communicating well with the child on a daily basis. Currently he has good understanding of the Korean and Dutch language. The child, who is just learning to speak his first words and sentences, does not know which formulation his mother tongue is dividing up the world he lives in. Neither do I.

A person who knows to distinguish a ‘sheep’ as being ‘양(yang)’,‘schaap’ and ‘sheep’, will look at a ‘sheep’ differently as to someone who only knows it as being ‘sheep’. A child in its learning phase will just absorb it without any hesitation. When my child is playing or conversing with other children who have been brought up in a Korean-only speaking environment, you can clearly see differences in verbal and physical expressions. I also found that when a certain problem arose, my child had a different approach in defining and solving the problem in comparison to the other children.

With great interest I am watching the way the rules of language are defining my child and how he perceives the ‘languages of others’ and how it is slowly forming him in his unique way within the social system.
I think that all origins of my spoken conversations can be traced back to external influences and environment. That is because the languages I use are restricting my life without me noticing it. Furthermore, I will research the interaction between language-body-social system-nation in history and how they operated the human body in time.


< B > ‘The waist bends’

Koreans use the expressions ‘the waist bends’ or ‘the spine falls out’ when they want to express having worked hard or having finished a hard task. Working in the same position for a long time leads to pain due to the stiffening of the muscles in the back and shoulders. However, people who use other languages normally do not use the same expressions like ‘the waist bends’. Japanese speaking people express themselves in the same situation as ‘having a stiff shoulder’, the Dutch have a saying ‘gebukt gaan onder (werk)druk’ which roughly translates into ‘bending under pressure’ and in English there is an expression like ‘break one’s back’.
So English natives are used to allocate their back to express their sensation of pain instead of the Korean waist and Japanese shoulder. It is not that Americans, Korean and Japanese feel pain in different areas but that the pain in the different body parts has significant meaning in each language and culture.

Language follows invisible rules without us noticing, when we think that we use our mother tongue freely and comfortably.
Forms of the way we think and experience are changed because we depend so dearly on the language(s) we speak.
Our experiences are deeply regulated through the languages we use. Through a framework of language, the forms of physical experience and the experiences through phenomena of physics and physiology which are felt by anyone on this planet, are changed.


< A > ‘Confinement’

I have memories from elementary school where a teacher directed all students to sit on the floor in crouching position and to wrap our arms around our legs during an outdoor class. At that time, I remember that I felt that particular posture was very comfortable. In 1960, this posture was widely used at elementary schools in Japan. With great effect they used this posture for ‘physical control’ over the students.
Shallow breathing, fixed back, numb hands and feet and such were induced by the posture, and children at the time thought the position was normal and believed that it was for their comfort.

Desired effects of ‘sitting on the floor and cover knees with both hands’

  • avoid playing with hands
  • limit the turning of the head sideways and stay focused
  • avoid talking or shouting loudly due to controlled short breathing

Worst of all, the children accustomed themselves instantly to the unnatural position although this posture was very unpleasant, confining and restricting. Even now, this posture is widely used and accepted throughout Korea during outdoor classes.


< C > ‘Walk’

In Japan before the Meiji Reform (1868), people walked according to the way of ‘nan-ba’. This walk is performed by moving the hand along with the same sided foot with every step making the movement very silent. This walk is forbidden and abolished for the political reason that the Japanese regime insisted its subjects should walk like Europeans and thus making it easier for its military to march. Naturally it took over 100 years for all the Japanese to be ‘re-educated’ in this new way of walking. The modern Japanese will associate ‘walking’ the same way the Europeans do, however in the past it would have projected another image to them.
It is not only the purpose of the authorities to have a technique to control the body by invading the body. The final goal of the authorities is to invade the human body in order to have total mental control. The key is not to invade with force. The trick is to let the people think that they are doing the things without letting them think that they are not forced in to doing so and accept things like out of free will, in order to make them obeying ‘subjects’.

Which movement is done functions as a social sign and sends some messages simultaneously.  Our bodies are historicized by the rules set by the leading conditions at times in history and location.
Normally we think that there is no essential difference in perception and in body structure between modern and ancient people. But according to Foucault, the human body is also just a social system as ‘it is bound by meaning’.


Eun Hyung Kim