To Breathe – Zurich
21 January – 11 March 2023
b. 1957, Daegu (KR)Download CV
Currently based in Seoul and Paris, Kimsooja is an internationally acclaimed conceptual artist whose practice explores the conditions of humanity. Working with different media spanning painting, by sewing, installation, performance, video, sound and light, Kimsooja moves form into action, using the materiality of the mediums, and reaching into issues of aesthetics and humanism thereby bringing us to a state of heightened awareness.
In a persistent effort to pursue a transcendence from the material to the non-material, her work evokes the conceptual exploration of “non-doing” and “non-making”. Kimsooja’s work transforms simple and everyday actions into moments of meditation and transcendence. Wrapping and unfolding, tying and untying, connecting and disconnecting, Kimsooja’s art links various dualities and enacts a shift from material to immaterial.
After studying painting in Seoul, Kimsooja completed a residency at a lithography studio at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris (1984- 1985). She has been honoured with numerous renowned awards, among them Lucas van Leyden Fund (2020), the HO-AM-Prize, a lifetime achievement in the arts (2015), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2013-2014), and most recently Okgwan, The Order of Cultural Merit, Seoul, Korea (2021).
Since the beginning of her artistic career in the 1980s she has explored alternative modes of expression, adopting new conceptual methodologies to her practice as a painter. Her work has been subject of numerous solo exhibitions in major international museums as well as site-specific installations, recently for example at The Cathédrale Saint-Etienne de Metz (2022), Traversées/Kimsooja in Poitiers (2019), The Peabody Essex Museum (2019), the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Chapel (2019), Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2017), Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2015), Centre Pompidou Metz (2015), Crystal Palace of Reina Sofia Museum(2006), MAC Lyon (2003), PAC Milan (2003), Kunstpalast Dusseldorf (2004), Kunsthalle Wien (2002), Kunsthalle Bern (2001) and MoMA PS1 (2001). She has been part of numerous biennials and triennials like BIENALSUR (2021), Documenta14 (2017), Venice Biennale (2013, 2007, 2005, 2001, 1999), Gwangju Biennale (2012, 2000, 1995 ), Lyon Biennale (2000), Sao Paulo Biennale (1998) and Manifesta 1 (1996).
23 August 2021
Caught between personal tragedy and a global pandemic, Kimsooja found solace in a field of dreams. Her art practice continues to merge elements of beauty, impermanence and universality, effortlessly and paradoxically cutting to the core of contemporary culture.
21 October 2021
When does an audience stop seeing the artist and start seeing what the artist is looking at? That’s just one of the many questions posed by conceptual multimedia artist Kimsooja, whose latest exhibition opens this month in Seoul
5 August 2020
At Wanås Konst, Sweden, the artist’s project ‘Sowing into Painting’ returns culture to nature.
While most people were locking down this May, Korean artist Kimsooja was hanging out laundry, in a wood northeast of Malmö, not too far from the border between Sweden and Denmark.
Doris von Drathen
Zweimal in ihrem 37-jährigen Werk hat sich die süd-koreanische Künstlerin auf ihr persönliches Leben bezogen. Im Herbst 2019 stellt Kimsooja einen 6 mal 2,4 mal 2,6 Meter großen Container auf den Platz vor die Kathedrale von Poitiers (s. Kunstforum Nr. 265) und markiert damit ihren Abschied von New York, wo sie, seit den ersten Stipendien bis heute, fast 30 Jahre gelebt hatte. Ein radikaler Wendepunkt, denn seither pendelt Kimsooja zwischen Seoul und Paris, wo sie sich vielleicht in der Zukunft niederlassen wird, auch wenn sie längst im Unterwegssein zuhause ist.
To Breathe: Bottari, Kimsooja’s exhibition at the Korean Pavilion, was one of the most memorable presentations at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The Korean-born New York-based artist had the audacity to offer visitors an anechoic—or sensory deprivation—chamber off the main gallery of the pavilion, which served as an antidote to the sensory-overload that is the hallmark of most Biennale installations. Visitors to the pavilion were obliged to remove their shoes before entering and sign a waiver relieving the show’s organizers of responsibility for claustrophobia-induced maladies like heart-attack or stroke.
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