Kim Kichul has continuously been working with sound, against more traditional, visual forms of art. To Kim, sound itself is the subject rather than an added element that composes a part of the whole sculpture, and it is a continuum already inherent with a meaning.
Kim first started using sound in his work through an experience he had while listening to the radio. He experienced temporal-spatial qualities of sound, and felt as though he were looking at the actual physical sound coming from a radio. His work 11-Faced Avalokitesvara presented in his first solo exhibition in 1993 departed from the word Avalokitesvara, which explains feeling the subject as if to see it. Kim was deeply moved by a verse from Bomunpum, the 25th chapter of The Sutra of the Lotus, which stated that if Sattva, in their suffering, chanted the Avalokitesvara with a simple concentration, they could reached Nirvana. By placing 10 statues of Avalokitesvara on radios each tuned to different channels, he presented a compositional method of observing sound through synesthesia.
It’s clear to see that sound itself is Kim’s main subject of interest especially through his earlier work Sound Looking (1999), which visually materializes the properties of sound dependent on the auditory senses. In this work, particles in a clear tube move according to the waves of the generated sound, and all things visible are mobilized in order to reveal the invisible sound.?