YoungEun Kim
Selected Works
Work List

Tearful Twist 
Multi-channel sound installation
5min Loop 
Dimensions variable

Tearful Twist (2022) is a look back at around 20 popular music numbers that were declared legally taboo in Korea between the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910–1945) and the 1990s. The popular songs that the public enjoys singing along to can be seen as a mirror reflecting the times and as a repository in which the popular feelings of the era were imbued.

In Korea’s case, many songs were banned during the Japanese occupation and military regimes, with any promotional and performing activities barred on the grounds that the music was not in line with an administration’s political direction or nationalist ideas. This work revives public attention to forgotten songs that were prohibited not because of their musical or sonic properties, but because of the lyrics, prevailing social ideas of their time, or political orientation of their composer(s).

I selected portions of each song showing their distinctive musical characteristics and performed and rearranged them according to their original time code. Combined into a single song, the fragments of sound unveil their sonic presence in different positions through various speakers set up at the exhibition space. Through this new arrangement, the work attempts to rehabilitate the musical values of the songs banned for political reasons irrelevant to their sonic qualities.


#1-6 Installation View at SONGEUN, Seoul (Photo by Jihyun Jung)