kimsooja wraps galeries lafayette's glass dome in paris with iridescent, ever-changing colors

kimsooja wraps galeries lafayette's glass dome in paris with iridescent, ever-changing colors

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galeries lafayette flooded in subtle light

 

At the invitation of Galeries Lafayette, Korean artist Kimsooja has installed a site-specific, light-oriented artwork ‘To Breathe’ in its Paris Haussmann. Kimsooja has applied a special film to the historic building’s iconic glass dome, causing the light to disperse into a spectrum of colors. Throughout the day, the exterior surfaces and interior spaces of the building become iridescent, ever-changing landscapes. ‘To Breathe’ is the first installation of its kind in Paris at this scale, and it invites viewers to contemplate the sensory and meditative qualities of light.

 

‘To Breathe’ will be on view to the public from April 14th — June 30th, 2023. It will cover 1,000 square-meters of glass with 660 panes.

kimsooja galeries lafayette
Kimsooja, Respirar — Una Mujer Espejo / To Breathe — A Mirror Woman, Crystal Palace, 2006. photo Jaeho Chong
courtesy Kimsooja Studio

 

 

from grüber to kimsooja

 

Kimsooja’s installation, centered around Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann’s iconic glass dome, establishes a never-before-seen dialogue with the architectural legacy of the space. At the time of its construction in 1912, the dome was graced with the stained-glass windows of Jacques Grüber, which were eventually swapped out for white glass during the second World War. By reintroducing color to the interior of this historic art nouveau building, the artist pays homage to its original design and ambiance. ‘To Breathe’ knits together two works of art from very different eras.

 

The team at Galeries Lafayette writes: ‘Kimsooja gives the dome back its colours, using the natural characteristics of light in keeping with Jacques Grüber’s initial intentions.’

kimsooja galeries lafayette
Kimsooja, on-site test ‘To Breathe’ by JADE, interstitial dome space, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 2022

courtesy Galeries Lafayette

 

 

‘to breathe’ series

 

The larger ‘To Breathe’ series was conceptualized by Kimsooja in 2006, when she transformed the bottari — a culturally and socially significant item meaning ‘bundle’ in Korean — into an architectural shape. By utilizing diffraction film, the Korean artist envelops entire rooms in order to exalt their architecture and illuminate their tales, like bundles of light created from bottari.

 

‘To Breathe’ is an artwork that responds to its natural environment, aiming to capture how light shifts and changes in accordance with the weather and the position of the sun. Upon exposure to light, a diffraction film produces fleeting rainbow spectrums that evolve as people move around the space. The artist encourages viewers to appreciate the magical, iridescent hues that are created without any effort through the concepts of ‘non-doing’ and ‘non-making’ which are fundamental to her work.

kimsooja galeries lafayette
rendering of the dome, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann | courtesy Galeries Lafayette

 

 

the intricate glass dome

 

Théophile Bader visualized a ‘luxury bazaar’ where the sun’s rays would penetrate a domed roof, giving the grand hall a golden hue and highlighting the products for sale. Architect Ferdinand Chanut brought this dream to life with a dome featuring a waved design that created dynamism as the daylight entered. The style of the dome is often referred to as neo-byzantine, with the use of elements such as gold and intricately carved ironwork crafted by Edouard Schenck radiating outwards around the glass panes, allowing in a warm, colored light.

 

Jacques Grüber intended to create a stunning and vivid natural light show that would shift throughout the day, so he incorporated a variety of colors from turquoise blue to vermilion red into the stained-glass windows. Rather than focusing on decorative elements, he sought to capture the viewer’s gaze with vibrant colors and create an enchanting atmosphere.

kimsooja galeries lafayette
rendering of the dome, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann | courtesy Galeries Lafayette

 

 

an artwork of light and sound

 

Visitors to the iconic glass dome will be able to enjoy a unique and intimate ‘To Breathe’ experience, which will include the ambient sounds of Kimsooja breathing. Initially faint, the inhalation and exhalation will gradually increase in volume, until the visitor is completely surrounded by the rhythm of breathing and a shifting chromatic landscape. This provides an opportunity for contemplation and meditation as the artist makes air and light visible and tangible, filling the space with creative energy for everyone to experience.

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Kimsooja, rendering of ‘To Breathe,’ Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 2022 | courtesy Kimsooja Studio

kimsooja galeries lafayette
Kimsooja, To Breathe, Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2015. photo Thierry Depagne | courtesy Kimsooja Studio

galeries-lafayette-kimsoojato-breathe-crystal-palace-paris-designboom-07a

Kimsooja, To Breathe, Centre Pompidou-Metz, 2015. photo Thierry Depagne | courtesy Kimsooja Studio

 

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Kimsooja, on-site test 'To Breathe' by JADE, interstitial dome space, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 2022 courtesy Galeries Lafayette
Kimsooja, on-site test 'To Breathe' by JADE, interstitial dome space, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 2022 courtesy Galeries Lafayette
Kimsooja, on-site test 'To Breathe' by JADE, interstitial dome space, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 2022 courtesy Galeries Lafayette
Kimsooja, on-site test 'To Breathe' by JADE, interstitial dome space, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, 2022 courtesy Galeries Lafayette
interior view of the great hall and the original dome, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, postcard, 1912 courtesy Galeries Lafayette
interior view of the great hall and the original dome, Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann, postcard, 1912 courtesy Galeries Lafayette

project info:

 

project title: To Breathe

artist: Kimsooja @kimsoojastudio

location: Galerie Lafayette Paris Hausmann | @galerieslafayette

construction company: JADE

on view: April 14th — June 30th 2023

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