On Thursdays, we read reviews or news stories about art or design and study the language used in them. This week’s article is about Korean sculptor MyeongBeom Kim, and although it’s very short, still offers some useful vocabulary.


Here is the text from Colossal, in italics.

MyeongBeom Kim builds unique works by combining everyday objects whose purposes are often in stark contrast. The sculptures are created from recognizable pieces such as birthday cake candles, canes, and standard #2 pencils. These objects are reworked to drastically limit their inherent purpose, like the untitled sculpture below in which the Korean artist floats a helium-filled balloon inside of a bird cage. The latex bubble is unable to rise higher than the surrounding metal enclosure, and thus balances within the structure until its eventual deflation.

My comments:

In the first sentence, we see the verb build is used. Consider the difference between this and other options like, makes, creates, or assembles. To me, the word build suggests the process of putting one thing on top of another. If you look at examples of this artist’s work, that’s often what you see – one thing on top of or combined with another opposite or contrasting thing. I think the word build also suggests a more physical process – something you make by hand.

We also see the word everyday objects, which just means they are not special – just the types of objects we see or use every day. We also see a reference to a standard #2 pencil. In American schools, these are the types of pencils that must always be used on tests and are similar to an HB pencil.

The word drastically is another way to say extreme or severe. We can’t make extreme into an adverb though, and severe often has a negative feeling about it. It sounds stronger and more interesting than saying to really limit something.

We don’t often use the word thus in everyday English, but it is a good word to use when you want to show that one thing causes another. Finally, we see the word eventual, which means happening at a later time. We don’t know how long it will take the balloon to deflate, but we use this word to stress that it will be a long time.

It can be difficult to know which word is best when you have several to choose from. A thesaurus can be a good way to find other words with similar meanings or choose between words. A good language coach can also help you to choose the words with the correct nuance for your situation.

At Artglish, we help artists and designers to describe their work with the best vocabulary and language possible. Every Thursday we study reviews and articles to share useful words and phrases to help you improve your reading and writing skills. If you want to learn more, click here to join The Studio and try some free ways to improve your English, or check out our Lessons page to learn how Artglish can help you succeed.

I’ve chosen 5 words or phrases for you to focus on today. They are in bold. If you don’t know them, look up the meaning, synonyms, antonyms, and other forms of these words. You can find links to Merriam-Webster dictionary sites at the bottom of this page.

To read the original article, written by Kate Sierzputowski on May 8, 2018, click the link below:

To see the artist’s website, click the link below: