Kimsooja exhibits three works at the Oratori de Sant Feliu in Palma de Mallorca

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Kimsooja exhibits three works at the Oratori de Sant Feliu in Palma de Mallorca
Kimsooja, ‘Meta-Painting’. Courtesy Kimsooja Studio and KEWENIG. Photo: Bruno Daureo.

PALMA DE MALLORCA.- Three stretched but unpainted canvases hanging freely in the room, as well as three bundles of the same fabric of natural fibers distributed on the floor, are works by the Korean artist Kimsooja that KEWENIG Palma is showing in the Oratori de Sant Feliu as an installation titled Meta-Painting.

Kimsooja (b. 1957 in Daegu, South Korea), has been working with a number of different media since completing her studies: sculpture, installations, performances, and video. Her work revolves around the subjects of migration, cosmopolitanism, and transculturality. Shaped by her own path through life, she explores the concepts of homeland, of constant searching, and memories. And the relationship of nature and daily life, of painting and material, are the themes of this exhibition.

The bundles are bottaris—traditional Korean bundles for travel—they are an essential part of Kimsooja’s œuvre. They contain clothing, household goods, objects one needs to travel and to live and wants to bring along. In Kimsooja’s work, the filling and closing of the bottaris already plays an important role. She too fills bottaris with material belongings. But with the gesture of folding and packing the clothes, stacking and arranging other clothing with them, artfully bundling and knotting the whole, Kimsooja is adding something immaterial: thoughts, feelings, and memories, both painful and beautiful, fleeting and formative.

Her earlier bottaris are striking for their brilliant palette and silky-smooth, artfully embroidered fabrics. The bottaris in this exhibition, however, are made from the same greyish canvas in its natural state that is spanned on the stretchers. Kimsooja thus, first, relates these bottaris directly to the stretched Meta-Paintings, even apart from their proximity to one another in the spatial arrangement. And, second, she directs the focus on what remains invisible, that which is materially wrapped and immaterially hidden.

The compositions of the material points to nature and agriculture. The fabric that is hanging in the space as a support and of which the outermost layer of the bottaris is made of flax. On the occasion of her exhibition at Wanås Konst Sculpture Park in Sweden, Kimsooja created a project in the form of a flax cultivation, analysing conceptual aspects of the relationship between painting, agriculture and textile. Having being created in a direct relationship to the placing, the works now stand here, in the Oratori de Sant Feliu, in a new spatial context, but at the same time they retain the history of their making and of their journey to Palma. The title of the exhibition, Meta-Paining, should be stood in a way similar to relationships based on a metalanguage. It is about painting that is not executed. It is about painting that addresses painting without need for paint. It is not-doing that, very much in the spirit of John Cage, nevertheless produces a result that can be perceived and in the process acquires a particular spiritual depth. Kimsooja leads exhibition visitors to the point of departure of a journey whose destination is nothing less than gaining insight into our existence and the world in which we live.

Kimsooja studied in Seoul (1980–84). She lives and works in Seoul, New York and Paris, and is an internationally acclaimed conceptual multimedia artist.

Kimsooja's recent major projects include To Breathe, Mairie de Saint-Ouen Métro station, Paris (2022); contemporary stained-glass installation, Saint-Etienne Cathedral, Metz (2022); To Breathe, Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul (2021); KIMSOOJA BUENOS AIRES, BIENALSUR 2021, Buenos Aires (2021); Traversées/ Kimsooja, Poitiers (2019-2020); and the Asia Society Triennial, New York (2020). Kimsooja has exhibited in major museums and institutions around the world including the Peabody Essex Museum (2019); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2018-2019); Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2018); Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein (2017); MMCA Seoul (2016); Centre Pompidou Metz (2015); Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (2015); Vancouver Art Gallery (2013); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Saint-Étienne (2012); Pérez Art Museum (2012); Baltic Center for Contemporary Art (2009); BOZAR Brussels (2008); Crystal Palace, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (2006); National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2005); Kunstmuseum Palast Düsseldorf (2004); Musée d’art contemporain, Lyon (2003); PAC Milan (2003); Kunsthalle Wein (2002); Kunsthalle Bern (2001); MoMA PS1 (2001); Rodin Gallery, Leeum Museum of Art (2000); ICC Tokyo (2001); and CCA Kitakyushu (1999).

Kimsooja represented South Korea at the Korean Pavilion of the 55th Venice Biennale (2013) and the 24th São Paulo Biennale (1998), participated in documenta 14: ANTIDORON – The EMST Collection (2017). Her work has been included in major international biennials and triennials in Venice (2019, 2013, 2007, 2005, 2001, 1999), Gwangju (2012, 2002, 1995), Busan (2016, 2002), Moscow (2009), Istanbul (1997), Lyon (2002) and Manifesta 1 (1996).

Kimsooja’s works are represented in the following collections: FENIX Museum for Migration, Rotterdam; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; CAC Málaga; Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA; K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany; Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein, Vaduz; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; LACMA, Los Angeles, CA; MAC, Lyon, France; Magasin III – Museum for Contemporary Art, Stockholm; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Saint-Étienne Métropole; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; Musée d'Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg; Musée National de l'Histoire de l'Immigration, Paris, France; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Helga de Alvear, Cáceres, Spain; National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; Sammlung Goetz, Munich; Sammlung Hoffmann, Berlin; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Following Kimsooja’s solo exhibitions at KEWENIG in Cologne (2005, 2009) and in Berlin (2017), Meta- Painting is the second one, after a first in 2014, in its gallery space in Palma de Mallorca.

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Kimsooja exhibits three works at the Oratori de Sant Feliu in Palma de Mallorca


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