Kimsooja, To Breathe, 2015. Video projection, mirror, diffraction grating film, sound, installation view, Centre Pompidou-Metz. Commissioned by Centre Pompidou-Metz, Courtesy of Institut français/Année France Corée, Kukje Gallery, and Kimsooja Studio. Photo: Jaeho Chong.
Kimsooja To Breathe October 26, 2015–January 4, 2016
Centre Pompidou-Metz 1 Parvis des Droits de l'Homme 57020 Metz France Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm
For the French-Korean Year, Centre Pompidou-Metz presents Kimsooja, one of the most influential multidisciplinary conceptual Korean artists of her generation.
Kimsooja's new installation takes on the unique architecture of Centre Pompidou-Metz to create a tri-dimensional tableau. Spanning the museum's entrance, the 80-meter-long Gallery 2 and the breadth of its two bay windows, the space of the gallery finds its utmost revelation as a transient path. Light is diffracted into an iridescent color spectrum on the surface of its windows before reuniting inside the projection of the artist's video piece To Breathe: Invisible Mirror, Invisible Needle (2006), a sequence of digital monochromatic color fields projected against an expanse of mirrored floor accompanied by the sound of a chorus of the artist's inhalation and exhalation, titled The Weaving Factory (2004).
Kimsooja has steadily devoted her 30-year career to transcending most current issues of identity, migration, and displacement into a life-long poem, while always looking beyond material condition and the act of making. Thinking of mirror as a medium to fold and unfold space and time—following the artist's use of wrapping belongings into travel bundles, known as Bottari in Korean—Kimsooja first made use of mirror for the Venice Biennale curated by Harald Szeemann in 1999, where she reflected a loaded Bottari truck onto a wall-sized mirror that opened a virtual exit for the vehicle and wrapped the entire space of the Corderier in the Arsenale. The piece d'Aperttuto / Bottari Truck in Exile(1999)was dedicated to the refugees of Kosovo. She further explored the notion of wrapping and unwrapping by placing paralleled mirrors in an enclosed laundry installation with abandoned Korean bedcovers for A Mirror Woman in 2002. A Mirror Woman: The Ground of Nowhere, installed for the centennial of Korean Hawaiian immigrants at the Honolulu City Hall in 2003, explored the migratory experience by using mirrors to reflect the sky, which is nowhere and an unknown territory, onto the ground. Kimsooja enveloped the transparent architectural structure of the Palacio de Cristal in Madrid with mirrors and diffraction films for To Breathe: A Mirror Woman in 2006, and of the Korean Pavilion in Venice for To Breathe: Bottariin 2013.
For the last 30 years, Kimsooja has worked on an ever-evolving tableau, a continuation of the artist's early work with painting and drawing. The work presented at Centre Pompidou-Metz furthers her commitment to creating an encounter with the public, whose focus is a moment of active concentration, a revelation of one's body in space and time that defies horizontality and verticality. To Breathe, particularly in its latest installment at Centre Pompidou-Metz, seeks to be the sum of the artist's early meditation on painting, where the surface of the canvas is intuited to become a mirror that wraps body, space, and time, and where brushstrokes are destined to dematerialize into light. Kimsooja's enduring examination of dualism in life and art transforms elements of painting into a new language of light, sound, and mirrors in pursuit of totality.
Curator: Emma Lavigne, director of Centre Pompidou-Metz