Jinhee Kim Solo Exhibition “Finger Play”




Tuesday, July 16th, 2019   19:00-20:30



2-7-5-5F, Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031

Tel: +81 3 5843 9128



Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 - Saturday, August 10th, 2019

Tuesdays through Fridays, 13:00-20:00

Saturdays, 12:00-19:00 (closed on Sundays, Mondays, and National Holidays)

*Open for shortened hours on July 19th (Fri) [11:00-15:00]

*Closed for summer vacation during July 24th (Wed) to July 27th (Sat)

​Cooperation: IANN


2019 | digital pigment print | © Jinhee Kim, courtesy KANA KAWANISHI GALLERY

KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY is pleased to announce the opening of Jinhee Kim’s solo exhibition, Finger Play, from Tuesday, July 16th. 


Kim was born in Busan, Korea in 1985. She debuted in 2012 with the series Whisper(ing) in which she described her sympathy to the delicate pain and anxieties of the women of her generation were silently carrying within, and then started to incorporate the method of applying embroidery to the prints in order to further express their deeper unconsciousness with the words Kim sensuously selected. 


Further on, the Sinking of MV Sewol in 2014 made a heavy psychological impact to Kim, which made her visit the site for several occasions and then gradually digest the accident within herself, to sublime the incident as her series titled April where she applied colorful geometrical shapes in the landscape near the accident site, hoping they would become a requiem to the casualties. Since then, she has been continuously evolving her series including Letter to Her and Labor of Love, where she applied various words of embroidery to the vintage postcards she found in flea markets in Europe. 


The series Finger Play, which will be disclosed for the very first time in this exhibition, is an extension of the series Beckon Discipline in which she showcased in the group show Body Politics: What Defines the Body? in 2018. In this series, Kim puts her focus to the “hands” of the women that appear in the publicated matters distributed in Korea, and reconsiders the collective cognition of how they are interpreted in society. After collection and selection of the images, she applies embroidery, or as a new attempt for this exhibition, makes a recomposition of the hand, yarn, and publicized hand image, to then reshoots as a photograph. 


Kim mentions pushing in and pulling out the thread is similar to the act of writing down words and sentences to express one’s opinion. In her work, Kim finds images printed out on media, then pushes in her unconsciousness with threads, to then push them out. The repetitive time-consuming behaviour of pushing in/out the unconsciousness of herself towards the collective social cognition of the “hand,” which commonly connotes instinctive expressions, assuredly embodies something that is invisible yet surely there. 


We look forward to showcasing the new works by Jinhee Kim, who has been constantly considering the collective unconscious minds of her generation and surroundings, and has been expanding her artistic career step by step through her various series. 

Artist Statement

I suffer pompholyx eczema by immune overreaction. Blisters appear on my hands and feet, which at times become quite serious depending on my condition. The hand is a part of the body in which is mostly disclosed to others, second to the face. It may sound exaggerated, but the hand is a part of the body that is almost never silent and continues to restlessly make actions. The motions of the hand is a complex mixture of conscious and unconscious. When we consciously create things, or write things, we use our hands. Since I’ve had my obsession towards hands with my pompholyx eczema, the most fact that interests me is that the hand does not represent conscious movements, but also abundant amount of unconscious movements. For example, we use verbal languages when we have a dialogue with others, but there are also non-verbal languages (gestures/expressions), which among many are made by movements of the hand. There are many occasions that we perpetually move our hands when we speak, but when we think back, we do not remember it at all. My assumption is that these are not only unconscious behaviors, but are also connected to the inner expressions inside us that ourselves are not aware of. It interests me that although the hand movement would be an indirect language compared to that of the verval, it could be an unconscious yet direct expression. 


One of my conscious hand movements are to apply embroidery on the surface of photographic prints. Throughout my previous works, I have continuously sewed on patterns and texts on various images of landscapes, portraits, and found postcards. Hand-sewing to me is a conscious methodology of healing pain, and continuously maintain my behaviours. I felt curious and wanted to know further the area of unconsciousness within this behavior I have continued. I sew on the image, and add another dimension to the image in 2D. By repeating this ceremonial movement of sewing, I sometimes enter the state of unconsciousness, and end up encountering shapes that I never initially thought of. The process of hand-sewing has become a way of expression that I must continuously follow and discover. 


The images in the Finger Play series can be interpreted as a form of society. I rendered these images from the media around me in my daily life. I collect and select the variety of hand movements by females that scatter in newspapers and magazines. And then, at times, well-planned, or at times improvisationally, I intervene into them with the various forms of sewing. 


The behavior of hand-sewing is a repetitive movement of pushing into the paper (or normally a fabric), and then pushing out from the backside of the paper to the front. This movement can be referred to the behavior of writing words and sentences, as to expressing one’s thoughts. (*1) The movement of pushing down the pencil to the paper, or punching the keyboard in to write sentences, could be described as pushing “in” as an action, yet simultaneously pushing “out” as an expression. For me, the movement of hand-sewing is how I push “in” my scattered unconsciousness on the surface of the photographic image, which at the same time is synonymous to pushing “out” towards the outer society I belong to. 


We all restlessly use our hands to express, create, and communicate. Hands are the memory of an individual, and is a non-verbal way of social expression. For me who has a disease to my hand, the practice of sewing the surface of a print seems to have made my “hand” or the “movement of my hand” to become a verbal language itself. Finger Play is a body of work that allows my unconsciousness to appear and accumulate as hand-sewings on top of the images of the female hand that appear on the media as collected silent cognitions, and through my practice of hand-sewing and intervention of my hand, the notions of female hands in the media become deconstructed. All this process is an inevitable and playful behaviour to continuously output my expression and interpret my way of communicating with the society. 


Embodying the symbolic patterns I learned from the society as hand-sewing, I put my hand inside the hole I opened in the image, and rediscover the gap between society and myself. My experiment of images will continue, for me to establish the relationship between myself and the society. 


Jinhee Kim

*1: Vilém Flusser, Gesten: Versuch einer Phanomenologie, 1991/1993

Artist Profile

Jinhee Kim was born in Busan, Korea in 1985. She completed her B.A. at Chung-Ang University (Seoul), Department of Photography in 2008. Her major solo exhibitions include Love from Mary (Gallery Koo, Seoul, 2016), A Nameless Woman, She (Songeun Artcube, Seoul, 2014), and whisper(ing) (Trunk Gallery, Seoul and Place M, Tokyo, 2012). Group exhibitions include Closed Windows (XYZ collective, Tokyo, 2018), Body Politics: What Defines the Body? (KANA KAWANISHI PHOTOGRAPHY, Tokyo, 2018),  Seoul New York Photo Festival (PowerHouse Arena, New York, 2016), Lies of Lies (HUIS MET DE HOOFDEN, Amsterdam and Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2015), and IANN & ANMOK (Ryugaheon, Seoul, 2014). Her monograph whisper(ing) was published from IANNBOOKS (Korea) in 2010. Public collections include Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts (Yamanashi, Japan).