55. Biennale – Kimsooja

Venezia - 30/05/2013 : 24/11/2013

Kimsooja rappresenta la Repubblica di Corea alla Biennale di Venezia col progetto To Breathe: Bottari.


Comunicato stampa

The notion of bottari (bundle) as a whole and totality and the concept of sewing have been the central components of Kimsooja’s work for over three decades. Posing various questions about the formal aspects of tableau, sculpture, object and installation, bottari encompasses issues of body, self and others and the relationship of yin and yang to life and death. Bottari explores problems of location and dislocation, migration, exile, and war, while posing existential and cognitive questions in space and time

Approaching the architecture of the Korean Pavilion as a bottari, the division between nature and the interior space is wrapped with a transluscent film, treating the windows as the skin of the pavilion that diffracts the natural sunlight into rainbow spectrums of light, as it showers the interior space.

The intensity of the light in the pavilion will correspond to the daily movement of the sun rising to its setting across the Korean Pavilion—which is located right next to the Laguna di Venezia—transforming the space into a transcendental experience—folding and unfolding the phenomenon of light.

To Breathe: Bottari presents the empty space of the Pavilion, inviting only the bodies of the audience to encounter the infinite reflections of light and sound. The artist's amplified inhaling, exhaling and humming performance sound (The Weaving Factory, 2004–2013) fills the air, transforming the pavilion into a breathing bottari.

Simultaneously, the artist extends the experience of light and sound by creating an anechoic chamber. A space in complete darkness that absorbs all audio waves, leaving nothing but the sound of the viewer's own body, To Breathe: blackout (2013) creates a soundless dark void of infinite reflection of self: a black hole.

The artist invites audiences to be the live and active performers, experiencing a personal sensation and awareness that reveals the extremes of light and darkness, sound and soundlessness, the known and the unknown. This installation questions visual knowledge as the known and darkness as the unknown—that originates from human ignorance—through two visual extremes that are connected as part of a whole. The Korean Pavilion will become a physical and psychological sanctuary, questioning the conditions of civilization in this era.

Kimsooja lives and works in New York, Paris and Seoul. She is an internationally recognized artist whose work combines performance, installation, video, light and sound.


Seungduk Kim lives and works in Paris. She is a curator and co-director of Le Consortium contemporary art center, Dijon, France.


A fully illustrated 230-page hardcover catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Published by Les presses du réel with the support of Arts Council Korea (ARKO), Kukje Gallery, Seoul; Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan; Kewenig Galerie, Berlin; Galerie Tschudi, Zuoz; and edited by Franck Gautherot and Seungduk Kim, the catalogue includes texts by Dan Graham, Yongwoo Lee, Michel Mossessian, Seungduk Kim (commissioner); and includes an interview with Kimsooja.

Also featuring re-published texts by Sang-hwan Bak, Ingrid Commandeur, Ricky D'Ambrose, Doris von Drathen, Bernhard Fibicher, Antonio Geusa, Jonathan Goodman, Steven Henry Madoff, Leigh Markopoulos, Rosa Martinez, Laeticia Mello, Hyungmin Pai, Kimsooja, Sung Won Kim, Robert C. Morgan, Francesca Pasini, Oliva Maria Rubio, Barry Schwabsky, Susan Sollins, the late Harald Szeemann, Hoi-seok Yang.


For further information, please contact [email protected] / Facebook: Korean Pavilion 2013