HAPPENINGText: Roberto Bagatti

Kimsooja also uses traditional Korean fabrics, richly embroidered with symbolic motifs. The installation ‘A Laundry Woman’ (2000) stretches across the parterre, along a large window that fills the space with the afternoon’s warm sun. The fabrics are mounted as if they were hung out to dry, the chromatic energy seems to receive the light and convert it in colour. The fabrics are often worn and covered with memories, exposed as if they were taken by an everyday life scene. And here chance plays a major role, how indeterminate time can be when it leaves a sign of its passage.

Kimsooja, A Laundry Woman, 2000

The videos roughly work on similar principles: in ‘A Laundry Woman, Yamuna River, Delhi, India’ the artist watches the water flowing while the remains of a recently performed funeral ceremony float by. The fleeting nature of existence and the immobility of the artists contemplation seems to float from one work to another.

In ‘A Homeless Woman’ Kimsooja isolates herself until she feels like a stone left on the ground. Shot in Cairo and New Dehli the artist is laying in the middle of a street, while people gather around her performance, as in Cairo, or where she passes unobserved, as in New Dehli (where people are often left abandoned on the ground).

Kimsooja, A Homeless Woman, 2000-01

It’s quite amazing how some art makes you consider going to exhibition to watch and contemplate life. This makes me think that there are artists that simply move something and manage to speak directly. Sometimes so directly that it takes hours to actually start deciphering what you’ve left an exhibition with; but once you start thinking you’ve taken a first step towards that contemplation the artist probably hopes to induce it’s viewer to. And you’re probably thinking about something so simple it hardly needs any thought. It probably needs to be experienced.

Kimsooja was born at Taegu, South Korea. After studying painting at the Hong-IK University of Seoul and then Paris, she moved to New York where she lives. This is her first personal exhibition in Italy.

Kimsooja: Conditions of Humanity
Date: June 24th – September 19th, 2004
Place: PAC
Address: 14 Via Palestro, Milan

Text: Roberto Bagatti
Photos: Roberto Bagatti

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