Internationally acclaimed artist Kimsooja presents a solo exhibition in November/December 2017 at Auckland’s Trish Clark Gallery, the first solo exhibition of Kimsooja’s work in a private gallery in Australasia. Three key video works from different periods create an immersive environment for local audiences, which will, together with a screened documentary, introduce them to the rich humanism of Kimsooja’s work. Her practice has been described by esteemed curator, the late Harald Szeeman, as ‘existential doing’, and her work has been the subject of numerous prestigious museum exhibitions around the globe.
Over a span of thirty years Kimsooja has been dedicated to discovering and expressing the inherent oneness of life, unifying the physical and the metaphysical. Her beliefs locate readily within Buddhism, Zen, Conficianism or the age-old role of the artist as shaman. Through installation, performative actions and video, Kimsooja employs specific settings within our harried globalised world as the object, and often inserts her own body as the subject in a central role in her works: to experience and transmit the power of stillness, of the void, of anonymity, of the quietude of contemplation; inviting the viewer to use her body as a locus from which to reflect on the human condition, and the condition of humanity.
Intent on bringing attention to women’s work and to the potency of everyday objects and actions, and the memory and narrative bound therein, Kimsooja has transformed the traditional Korean bedcover into a sculptural and symbolic device much utilized in physical form and in her films. The site of birth and loving and death, the used cloth bundles one’s belongings when relocating, then known as bottari in Korean. Bottari convey physical and metaphorical readings of the stitching together of life’s essence and of location and dislocation. For Kimsooja, ‘breathing is another kind of fabric – another way of weaving and another way of sewing – another way of connecting life and death and awareness of my body as both a physicality and impermanency’.
Living and working in New York and Seoul, Kimsooja has made projects in countries as diverse as Egypt, Greenland, India, Nigeria and Japan, and in 2014, China, as the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work has been included six times in the Venice Biennale (1999, 2001, 2005, 2013 when she represented Korea, 2015 in Proportio at Palazzo Fortuny, and in 2017 in Intuition, also at Palazzo Fortuny). Other Biennales where Kimsooja’s work has been presented are Istanbul (1997); Sao Paolo (1998); Sydney (1998); Asia-Pacific Triennale (1999); Whitney (2002). Among many other awards, she received a 2015 Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, from Korea’s HO-AM Foundation, a 2013 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, and in December 2017 will be made Chevalier (Knight) of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Her work is represented in major Museum Collections in France, Australia, Luxembourg, Spain, Sweden, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and USA.
We gratefully acknowledge Bloomberg’s generosity in allowing us to screen KIMSOOJA Explores the Notion of Being Human | Brilliant Ideas Ep.45