Christine Sun Kim and Thomas Mader: A Family Lecture


Thursday, March 23, 2023

7:00 pm

A SONG ABOUT FAMILY is a collaboration between the Goethe-Institut, Royal College of Art, School of Architecture’s PhD Programme, and Somerset House Studios.

The Goethe Institut hosts Christine Sun Kim’s and Thomas Mader’s lecture on their art practice as a family. In their lecture, they will investigate the beauty and challenge of family co creation  and provide insights into the unconventional flag newly waving at the Goethe-Institut London. Christine has produced a book that contains empty scores drawn by a variety of artist friends, as well as her husband and daughter, for her recent show at Secession Vienna. In teaching her daughter how to draw scores, Roux created a score titled “A song about family”. While the score Roux contributed to Christine’s Secession book is empty, the new flag is fully populated with her made up musical notes and symbols. After having drawn the score, she asked her mom to interpret the score for her. This score, which in itself already resembles a flag in a slight breeze, serves as the design for the family’s flag while staying at Goethe-Institut London. A score as a flag also functions as a gentler and more open approach to the flag format than the usual flags that are very determinate and limited in design and message. This particular flag shows support for artist families in an institutional setting and at the same time relates to drawing being a shared practice amongst the members of the Kim/Mader family.

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 in London at the Goethe Institute and Somerset House Studios from January to April 2023 is 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 this year surrounds 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) seeks to explore its perceived binary opposite – ‘sickness’. HF,UH aims 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 asks 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?

Born in Southern California, Kim has been residing in Berlin for the last 10 years with her husband Thomas Mader, and daughter Roux. 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 Caroll/Fletcher gallery in Soho. In February 2023 her exhibition Cues on Point opened at Secession in Vienna.

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