Unwrapping the Hanbok + Villa of Veils: Rendering the Body Present

On Display
February 4, 2014 to July 18, 2014
Kibel Gallery

This exhibition seeks to make visible the relationship between the body, clothing, and architecture. Textiles wrap the physical body; Tectonic skins enclose the architectural body.


The traditional Saudi Arabian and Korean dress, respectively the abaya and hanbok, are both designed to conceal, to obscure, to cloak, and to render opaque the female body. Similar yet different, the abaya veils the wearer from head to toe, thereby denying the physical presence of the body, whereas, the hanbok conceals the body by binding or wrapping it to camouflage the lines of the female figure. The feminine form in both cases is invisible. The architectural studies for the two houses make visible the perceptual relationships between the body, clothing and architecture.


Unwrapping the Hanbok reveals the body as a void space, both connected to the earth and sky simultaneously. At this moment, the zones of binding, of extending and of sensing collide as manifestations of the multiple layers of the dress. Inspired by the pojagi, the traditional method of wrapping gifts, this architectural proposal, too, is draped in a double-skinned transparent and punctuated envelope. The house is an expression of the female body infinitely extended. Villa of Veils expresses the inextricably tied relationship between the abaya and the physical threshold of the house. Upon entry, the wearer is free to shed her veils; the house becomes the veil. The house establishes careful and clear distinctions between male and female spaces of the home. Just as the abaya controls view, the organization of the home both denies and allows access between specific spaces.


This series of architectural studies considers how the physical body is expressed via an articulated “house coat.” The installation invites you to enter its construct of simultaneously veiled, contained, and wrapped spaces… rendering the body present.


A lecture by the exhibiting artist will take place on March 26, 2014 at 5pm in ARC 0204.


Julie Ju-Youn Kim

Principal / Associate Professor
c2 architecture studio / The Catholic University of America