Shin Kiwoun

Shin Kiwoun (Born. 1976, South Korea, currently lives and works in Seoul, South Korea)


Shin Kiwoun’s work explores the concepts of time, existence, reality, and illusion. In series’ such as Reality Test, Shin does this by dramatically decelerating time in short video installation films. In slow, high definition, Shin presents us with crash events that replace people with children’s toys and objects from popular culture. With seconds stretched into minutes, viewers are given long deliberation on every movement and detail of the destruction. Splattered liquid, shattered glass, human reactions, all provide intense and individual precise interest, and can be depthfully analysed. This unnatural or peculiar perspective, alongside the virtual distance inherent in video media does however imply the importance of our removal – we can synthesize the meticulous specificity of the event without having to experience its consequences. This allows Shin to come back to the ponderence on reality.


“My issue is when and how we have a sense of the ‘real’, how this ‘reality’ exists and how we believe the ‘truth’. These questions begin with my ideas from car crash test videos to the real accident. So, what is difference between the scenes of car crush test and ‘Real’ car crush as accident? These questions are realized by comparing objects and human.”


Shin continues this kind of destruction or deconstruction by later grinding more popular objects and commodities, such as mobile phones or iPods, transforming them to dust. In a particularly effective execution in this series, Dis-illusion_Coin_Face, Shin destroys a monetary coin. Reduced to the reality of their physical form, viewers are forced to question the personal resonance that these items may have, and the societal constructs around what is now simply dust. The work perhaps becomes an attempt to refuse these cultural commodities and their social constructs, or the loss of essential reality through the process of endless successive reproduction.


Shin discusses reproduction further in site specific projects that replicate their surrounding environments through photographs. By presenting a projected image of a fire exit, or a flight of stairs, alongside the original form in a gallery space, Shin creates an easily missed illusionary space that requires further investigation to truly see. Time, existence, reality, and illusion are again inherent, and Shin’s works concern themselves primarily with questioning our own interpretations of these terms.
Shin Kiwoun has an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths College, London 2010 and received BFA, MFA in Sculpture at Seoul National University of Arts, Seoul, South Korea. He was awarded New Contemporaries 2010 and has featured his video art including Esplanade in Singapore, ZKM in Germany, and Liverpool Biennale, UK.