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Currently based in New York, Paris and Seoul, Kimsooja was born in 1957 in Daegu, Korea. She received a B.A. and M.A. in painting from Hongik University. This was followed by a residency at the at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des BeauxArts in Paris. The artist works in diverse mediums including two-dimensional work, objects, installations, performance and video, allowing her to deal with issues both of surface as well as conceptual themes such as time and space. The artist is fundamentally interested in the intersection of art and life, the issues at the core of her practice are a culture's psychological or spiritual attitude towards nature and how it manifests itself in daily life.Read More
One of Kimsooja's notable works is Cities on the Move - 2727 kilometres Bottari Truck (1997), included in the exhibition Cities on the Move co-curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Hou Hanru. On an 11-day journey sitting atop a mountainous pile of bottari, the artist visited various villages from her childhood and the 2,727 kilometers traveled on this journey evokes the concept of nomadic life and migration. Furthermore, it received much attention as the ultimate metaphor for the exhibition's theme of 'being on the move'.
A Needle Woman (1999–2001) is a multichannel video installation that captures the perspective of the artist while standing in silent meditation. With her face turned away from the viewer, she stands in the middle of the crowd in eight metropolitan cities: Tokyo, Shanghai, Mexico City, London, Delhi, New York, Cairo and Lagos. The work shows the way in which the artist perceives herself as a symbolic needle that pierces through regionally specific social narratives—a work that inverts the notion of performance as being done by a predominant actor.
Since the 1980s Kimsooja has been using traditional pieces of fabric to make bottaris, sewing or bundling up old clothes. Her bottaris have been presented in countless installations and performances. Her oeuvre is representative of the concerns shared by other artists of her generation—exploring the importance of connecting life with art and the phenomenon of incorporating ordinary, familiar and everyday objects. Kimsooja's work touches on themes of the body and memory, fuelled by her interest in site and the impact of one's geographical origin. In addition, Kimsooja persistently explores current and urgent issues of contemporary society: migration, refugees, war and cultural.
Kimsooja's major solo exhibitions include Kimsooja: A Needle Woman at Miami Art Museum (2012); a site-specific project by the National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea for the Yong Gwang Nuclear Power Plant (2010); Earth - Water - Fire - Air at Atelier Hermes, Seoul (2009); Mumbai: A Laundry Field at Feldkirch Church, co-organised by Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2010); Kimsooja: A Needle Woman at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle (2009); Lotus: Zone of Zero at BOZAR, Brussels (2008); To Breathe: A Mirror Woman at Museo de National Reina Sofia, Madrid (2008); To Breathe / Respirare at La Fenice Theater in conjunction with a joint solo exhibition at Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, Venice (2006); Conditions of Humanity, a solo show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, that travelled to Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, and PAC, Milan; A Needle Woman at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and MoMA (2001), New York; and A Needle Woman at Kunsthalle Bern (2001).
Group exhibitions include Artempo and In-Finitum, Venice and Cities on the Move, a traveling show. Other exhibitions include Pozanan Biennale (2010), Moscow Biennale (2009), Venice Biennale (2005, 1999), the Whitney Biennal (2002), Busan Biennale (2002), Sao Paolo Biennale (1998), Istanbul Biennale (1997), Gwangju Biennale (1995, 2000). Kimsooja's works are housed in some of the most prestigious international museums and private collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Leeum Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; National Museum of Contemporary Art Korea, Gwacheon; Kunstmuseum Bern; Hôtel de Ville, Paris; Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon; K21, Düsseldorf; Tokyo MOMA, Fukuoka Art Museum; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle; and Monsoon Collection, London.
Text courtesy Kukje Gallery.
For more than 25 years, South Korean artist Kimsooja has focused her practice on a specific element in her country's visual culture: the bottari, a colourful bundle of cloth used to wrap and transport items by hand. It is a traditional and timeless component of life in Korea, where bottari fabrics are often recycled from old silk bedcovers, a...
In the new exhibition Here we are at the Art Gallery of NSW, some of the most compelling women artists at work today consider the connections we create with others and how these connections resonate outwards through our lives. In the 2009 video A needle woman by Kimsooja, from the Gallery's collection, the figure of the artist, seen from...
A resplendent display of 272 fuchsia-colored paper lotus lanterns adorns the light-filled oculus on The Rubin Museum of Art's top floor. The sweeping circular installation, Lotus: Zone of Zero (2019) by Kimsooja, is among the more striking of the works by 10 international artists selected by guest curator Sara Raza for the exhibition Clapping...
Five hundred acres of voluptuous hillsides are peppered with wandering eyes, concrete lumps and hollowed Hepworths, all cohabiting the landscape with grazing sheep. Yorkshire Sculpture Park is perhaps one of the only sites in the UK where you might confuse an ovine watering trough with a modernist sculpture. Now it also houses the only chapel...
CoBo speaks to Zoe Chun, Communication Director of Kukje Gallery – CoBo Challenge at Art Basel Hong Kong 2017.
Born in 1957 in Daegu, South Korea, Kimsooja started attracting the attention of the international art community when she began constructing Korean bottaris in her art – a gesture and motif that continues to appear in her work till today. Her art centers on the work and labor of women –beginning with her early sewn works, to her films and video...
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