kimsooja quilts a chapel with iridescent light and sounds of her own breathing

kimsooja quilts a chapel with iridescent light and sounds of her own breathing

the moment in time between an inhale and an exhale: from march 30 to september 29, a historic chapel will be suspended in that calm void. to breathe is the name of kimsooja’s latest installation, previously shown at the 2013 venice art biennale and now overtaking the old chapel at yorkshire sculpture park in england. with mirrors, film, and photons, breaths of light explore the meditative qualities of space and a recording of the artist’s own breathing echoes off walls. 

all images courtesy of the artist, yorkshire sculpture park and photographer, mark reeves



with light brushstrokes of displacement (a mirrored floor and diffraction film) light enters the windows of the cathedral in a myriad of colors that infinitely refract on every surface. light is just ever so lightly manipulated inside the chapel at yorkshire sculpture park, but the the result is a full palette of nature’s watercolors, dripping all over an architectural space. the visual treatment alone is enough to make an explorer slow down and get pensive. but there’s an auditory element to this piece. it reverberates slowly and is just as calming, if not mesmerizing. 




a soundtrack of the artist breathing accompanies these iridescent fractals. kimsooja seeks to create a void. she breathes so she may focus on the place between the inhale and exhale. in the right environment and an open mind, certain audible meditations might influence the viewer to slow their own breathing down and focus on that calm place, which the artist describes as the ‘void within the skin of architecture,’ thus becoming a site of communal contemplation for all who encounter it.




this is a place where the natural process of breathing is respected as law. ‘for me,’ kimsooja says, ‘making space means creating a different space, rather than making a new one. the space is always there in a certain form and fluidity, which can be transformed into a completely different substance.’





to breathe elegantly captures something as infinitely complex and simple as breathing and the void in between. her interest in this void, she says, ‘lies in the relationship between yin and yang, as a way of inhaling and exhaling, which is the natural process of breathing, as a law of living.’

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project info:


artist: kimsooja

location: the chapel at yorkshire sculpture park

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