Kimsooja creates site-specific planting project for The Wanås Foundation for Summer 2020

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Kimsooja creates site-specific planting project for The Wanås Foundation for Summer 2020
Kimsooja, Sowing into Painting, 2020. Part of the exhibition Kimsooja: Sowing into Painting, Wanas Konst 2020. Photo: Mattias Givell.

KNISLINGE.- The Wanås Foundation presents Sowing Into Painting, a multidimensional project including site-specific installations, film, sculpture, and painting by the artist Kimsooja. Wanås Konst is a unique cultural foundation in Southern Sweden composed of a sculpture park and art galleries on the site of a medieval castle and an organic farm. With ​this exhibition, Kimsooja creates new works incorporating this diversity of locations and investigates the conceptual relationship between (agri)culture, painting and textiles.

The title for the exhibition, Sowing into Painting, is also the title of Kimsooja’s new planting project, a field of flax. Taking advantage of the surroundings, she cultivates two varieties of flax plants to generate linseed oil and linen. As well as being a physical source of painting materials, the field becomes a fluid tableau woven into the earth. Sown at the end of April, it will grow, flower, and be harvested over the course of the exhibition. Bringing together the whole cycle of life and art, this new project expands the notion of painting and textile production that have characterized Kimsooja’s entire oeuvre, and her own cycle as an artist.

In the Art Gallery space, Kimsooja presents Meta-Painting, a new series of conceptual paintings made from raw linen canvases. Relating to the Sowing Into Painting project in the nearby field, these works show the product of the harvested flax transformed into linen canvas and art objects. Stretched into monumental tableaus and wrapped into bottaris—korean bundles—the canvases turn into an installation, a three-dimensional painting.

In the nearby space, Kimsooja’s 16mm film series Thread Routes depicts textile cultures across the world as a "visual anthropology." Started in 2010 and shot on five different continents, the films investigate textiles as a point of reference into human life, culture, architecture, and the natural world.

In the Sculpture Park, A Laundry Field is made with close to a hundred hanging used local Swedish bed covers, extending from Kimsooja’s A​ ​Laundry Woman. The bed cover has been a recurring motif in Kimsooja’s oeuvre; fabrics that are imbued with content through their use and representation. The bed is a site of life and death and the history of these lives are embedded in the textiles. The installation is a field of memories.

In the centuries-old hay barn, Kimsooja presents the site-specific installation To Breathe, a mirrored floor reflecting and inverting the space. The high vaulted ceiling and its myriad of supporting beams are converted into a deep chasm, creating a disorienting effect as one walks across its surface, surrounded by the breathing and humming sound installation The Weaving Factory (2004-2013). On the opposite side of the building, the artist inserts fabrics into cracks and holes in the wall, recalling Deductive Object (MoMA PS1 1993). Kimsooja’s intervention is an act of “non-doing”. She allows the sensorial and conceptual dynamics latent in the architecture to come forward: she both occupies the room and leaves it empty.

The exhibition takes place during the Covid-19 pandemic, a time of emergency, restrictions and change. With the body as our basis for being in the world, the exhibition gives room for inaction and meditation on life and art. Kimsooja was born in 1957 in Daegu, Korea, and lives and works in Seoul.

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