Kimsooja’s work has been dedicated over a span of 30 years 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.
By Dimitris Lempesis
Photo: Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga Archive
Kimsooja’s solo exhibition “To Breathe – Zone of Zero” at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo features a site-specific installation entitled “Lotus: Zone of Zero” (2016), and her video “To Breathe – The Flags” (2012). During the exhibition, visitors will also be able to see two bottaris from the collection of Carmen Riera “Installation of 2 Bottaris” (2005), now on display at the CAC Málaga. 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”. The title of the exhibition is an amalgam of the two works that comprise it. The installation “Lotus: Zone of Zero” (2016) that has turned the exhibition space into a place of contemplation and meditation. A total of 708 lotus lanterns cover the ceiling of the room, but instead of the circular mandala design used in previous presentations of this work, here they are arranged in a rectangular pattern. Gregorian, Islamic and Tibetan chants flood the hall and wash over spectators, inviting them to turn their thoughts inwards. In her video “To Breathe – The Flags” (2012), 246 national flags are slowly superimposed, one by one, in alphabetical order, without hierarchy or political bias, putting all nations on the same level, a visual experience in which differences and conflicts between nations can fuse and blend together as one.
Info: Curator: Fernando Francés, Centro de Arte Contemporáneo of Málaga, Calle Alemania, S/N, Málaga, Duration: 7/10/16-8/1/17, Days & Hours: Tue-Sun 10:00-20:00, http://cacmalaga.eu