- b. 1957 in Daegu, Korea
- Working in New York, NY, United States of America; Paris, France; and Seoul, Korea
- Showing at Asia Society Museum
- On view October 27, 2020, through February 7, 2021
Kimsooja, Respirar - Una Mujer Espejo / To Breathe - A Mirror Woman, 2006. Site-specific installation consisting of mirror, diffraction grating film, and sound performance The Weaving Factory, 2004. Installation view at Crystal Palace, Spain. Courtesy of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and Kimsooja Studio. Photograph by Jaeho Chong
Kimsooja, To Breathe, 2019. Site-specific installation consisting of mirror, diffraction grating film, and sound performance The Weaving Factory, 2004–13. Installation view at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK. Courtesy of Kimsooja Studio. Photograph by Jan Liegeois
Kimsooja’s pioneering vision and radical desire to transcend confining societal definitions relating to aesthetics, gender, geopolitics, and the environment are realized through a multifaceted practice that includes performance, video, photography, sculpture, and site-specific installation using light and sound. Her work extends into conceptual and experiential domains present in our surroundings and serves as an altruistic intervention that facilitates existential questions relating to the conditions of the self, humanity, and existence. Her performative projects often feature the artist in a meditative state of “nondoing” that foregoes the ego in favor of a holistic merger between time, locale, and the viewer. The artist received a BA and MFA in painting from Hongik University, Seoul, in 1980 and 1984, respectively.
To create To Breathe – The Flags, the artist appropriated 246 national flags to make a seamless and nonhierarchical cycle of images that cross-pollinate visual symbols of sovereignty and nationhood as a means to subvert the rigidity of borders and national identity. The selection incorporates flags from nations that are not internationally recognized, including Taiwan and Tibet, as well as nations whose flags are forbidden in other countries, such as North Korea. This fluid montage celebrates the unique cultural and political histories behind each flag as well as acknowledges our deeper commonality by prioritizing humanity above nationality.
Supported by Korea Foundation
Below: Kimsooja, To Breathe – The Flags (excerpt), 2012. Single-channel video. Duration: 40 minutes, 41 seconds. Courtesy of the artist. Video courtesy of the artist