PRINT March 2013


View of “The Tanks: Art in Action—Sung Hwan Kim Commission,” 2012, The Tanks, Tate Modern, London. Background: Pages of Ki-Da Rilke becoming light towers 1–4, 2012. Foreground: Dog Video, 2006. Photo: Sam Irons.

FOR SUNG HWAN KIM, ideas are less the thing than stories. “I know that it doesn’t matter if things are true or not,” Kim begins in From the Commanding Heights . . . , 2007. “But this is a true story.” He launches into a narrative that starts out believably enough but grows increasingly fantastical, about a woman with a preternaturally long neck and a third ear on top of her head. As we hear his recorded voice, we see the artist’s face above a transparent sheet, which he draws on to illustrate the bizarre fable. From the Commanding Heights . . . jumps from one narrative mode and style to the next, often with confrontationally abrupt transitions. Suddenly, we are presented with an image of the Seoul apartment building Kim lived in as a child, and the story that comes with it, which presents yet another type of truth: rumor. (It was said that when the lights in the complex went out,

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