Pepper Crusher

by Yejin Kim

A tool for grinding a single peppercorn, Pepper Crusher exaggerates labor intensive and time-consuming food preparation processes that are ritualized as forms of cultural production. Inspired by an absurd claim made by Kim Jong-un–that every grain of rice served to him was inspected by his house staff as an expression of loyalty–Pepper Crusher highlights how we take abundance for granted. The objects’ forms reference the Punggye-ri mountain ranges, which via satellite images appear tranquil but are rumored to house North Korea’s nuclear development site. Peppercorns contained within the hand sculpted, cast bronze crusher are dispensed one-by-one, expressing the juxtaposition of serenity and secrecy. Highlighting the paradox of the rice inspection–excess is required to feed the “Dear Leader” while citizens go hungry–Pepper Crusher ritualizes the mundane exercise of adding peppercorns all the while encouraging recognition of the cultural and perceptual borders between us.

Materials: Walnut, Bronze

Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 4.5”

Yejin Kim

Yejin Kim is a product designer and maker born in Korea. Kim studied visual arts in Germany through the International Baccalaureate program. She is currently in the process of completing her BFA in Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her art and design projects have been exhibited in Germany and the United States.

Kim’s studio practice is process driven and develops from hands-on projects, creating a link between mass-production and an appreciation of craftsmanship. Influenced by growing up in diverse cultural environments, she re-interprets the cultural elements surrounding us through a personal lens. Imbued with a sense of curiosity, her emotionally-provoking objects encourage recognition of these diverse cultures.