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Kimsooja's thought-provoking 'Archive of Mind' blurs artistic boundaries

All News 17:27 July 26, 2016

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's globally renowned artist Kimsooja will hold a major solo exhibition in her home country for the first time in 20 years, a local museum said Tuesday.

The Seoul branch of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) has chosen Kim as its third artist to represent the "MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2016," an on-going artistic collaboration with the country's biggest car maker to introduce and support the country's prominent contemporary artists.

As the show's title "Archive of Mind" suggests, Kimsooja tries to portray the status of her mind and thoughts through rich artistic devices, ranging from video to installation, sound to photos.

"I have constantly considered the duality of everything -- the inside and outside, life and death and so forth. I've raised questions and answered them through my works. This exhibition is the result of the persistent contemplation," the artist told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.

A well-known multidisciplinary conceptual artist, she uses a one-word name, Kimsooja, as it "refuses gender identity, marital status, socio-political or cultural and geographical identity by not separating the family name and the first name," according to her official website.

Born in 1957 in Daegu, 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul, she has, for the past 30 years, created a distinct artistic profile through original and extraordinary experiments to navigate her inner self and promote communication with others, nature, and the universe. That doesn't mean she sought subject matters only in spirits. Numerous present-day social, global, gender issues have been consistently touched upon, which have been built up overtime to form the core identity in her art world.

Living and working in New York, Paris and Seoul, she was an artist-in-residence at Cornell University in 2014 and for the World Views Program at the World Trade Center in 1998-1999. Prolific, she held countless solo exhibitions, most recently at the Pompidu Center in Paris and at the Smith College Museum of Art in Massachusetts, last year. In 2013, she was invited to the 55th Venice Biennale to represent Korea.

Dressed in a black button-down shirt and her long hair tied back in a bun, her signature hairdo, she explained how her famous series "Bottari," an installation constructed from bed covers, clothing, and other objects that forms the basis of her art, continues to influence her recent works including those at the MMCA.

"I consider 'Deductive Object' as a modified 'Bottari.' Inspired by the Indian stone Brahamanda, also known as 'cosmic egg,' the work symbolizes the birth of totality and connection," she said.

At her latest exhibition, nine new works are presented.

Among the works on display is her personal yoga mat that she's used since 2006, under the tile of "Geometry of Body."

As a long practitioner of the spiritual and physical exercise, she said the worn mat embodies the traces of her bodily movements as well as the force of gravity.

"This shows invisible force of gravity and my body's geometric moves in a different dimension," she said.

Curator Park Young-ran said "The exhibit shows the artist's new works born out of her pure interests in human beings and Korean tradition. Gallery-goers can fill the void of the show intentionally left by the artist."

The exhibition opens Wednesday and runs through Feb. 5, 2017.


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