Christine Sun Kim: Edges of Sign Language

Christine Sun Kim: Edges of Sign Language
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Christine Sun Kim: Edges of Sign Language
31 March – 21 May 2023
Gallery 31, New Wing
Somerset House

Multidisciplinary artist Christine Sun Kim‘s new commission examines how sound operates in society and explores the parameters of her relationship with American Sign Language and spoken languages. As part of the Somerset House Studios series Hyper Functional, Ultra Healthy, Kim presents her new commission, Edges of Sign Language, in the intimate space of Gallery 31; this will also conclude her 3-month Somerset House Studios x Goethe-Institut residency.


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 lens. She seeks to visualise the tensions between notations, marks, shapes and, most importantly, edges.

Kim’s practice considers how sound operates in society and how to deconstruct the politics of sound. She also explores how oral languages operate as social currency. Musical notation, written language, infographics, American Sign Language (ASL), the use of the body, and strategically deployed humour are all recurring elements in her practice.

The Star Spangled Banner (Third-Verse), 2020

She works across sound, charcoal drawing, performance, video and large-scale murals. Through her art, Kim, who was born Deaf, discovered similarities between ASL and musical notations and realised sound did not need to be heard but could be felt and experienced as an idea. 

Christine Sun Kim
Photo By Max Creasy

From MoMa to Shanghai Biennale, Kim has showcased her work and performances globally, including performing the American national anthem for the Super Bowl, which she’s said was an act of protest and patriotism. She is also known for her widely viewed TED Talk, “The enchanting music of sign language,” and her short MoMA doc titled “The Sound of Temperature Rising.

©2023 Christine Sun Kim, Somerset House

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