kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'

kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'

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To Breathe – Constellation by Kimsooja

 

As part of the Le monde comme il va exhibition at the Bourse De Commerce in Paris, South Korean artist Kimsooja presents a carte blanche titled To Breathe – Constellation. Installed at the Rotunda of the museum, the artwork is both monumental and ethereal: an expansive mirror laid on the ground, which upon approach, distorts the surrounding architecture by Tadao Ando, seemingly conjuring the sky beneath our feet. Additionally, Kimsooja extends her artistic vision across 24 display cases in the Passage and the museum’s lower level, showcasing works and video installations that delve into her recurring themes: identity, borders, memory, exile, movement, and weaving.

 

‘I would like to create works that are like water and air, which we cannot possess but which can be shared with everyone’, Kimsooja says.

kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'
Kimsooja, To Breathe — Constellation, 2024 | images courtesy of Pinault Collection

 

 

 a symbolic transformation of bourse de commerce

 

Describing herself as a ‘cosmopolitan anarchist,’ Kimsooja (find more here) employs a metaphorical approach, utilizing her own body as an anonymous, nearly imperceptible entity. In her art, her stillness and upright stance serve as a symbolic needle weaving through the fabric of the world. The mirror adorning the floor of the Bourse de Commerce’s Rotunda serves a parallel purpose, echoing the function of both the needle and her physical presence. ‘The mirror replaces the body, observing and reflecting the other,’ the artist shares. ‘By using it, our gaze acts like a sewing thread that moves to and fro, entering into the depths of our self and of the other, reconnecting us to their reality and inner world. A mirror is a fabric woven by own gaze in an ebbing and flowing motion’. 

 

In harmony with the philosophy of Tadao Ando, who seeks an architecture of emptiness and boundlessness, Kimsooja blankets the Rotunda floor with a reflective mirror. In doing so, she elevates the artwork beyond mere objecthood, installation, or imagery, transforming it into an indispensable experiential journey. The artist transforms the architecture into a disorienting, weightless realm, creating an inversion of reality where the sky within the glass dome plunges into a vast abyss. This shift in perception alters our understanding of space and challenges our sense of gravity. By carving out voids within the structure, she prompts new sensations and evokes the notion that our bodies serve as conduits, akin to the figure depicted in Needle Woman, her performance video also presented in the Pinault Collection (find more here). 

kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'
Kimsooja has installed an expansive mirror on the ground of the Bourse De Commerce

 

 

kimsooja becomes a needle woman

 

In the enigmatic A Needle Woman (1999-2000) performance video, Kimsooja stages herself at the four corners of the earth (Shanghai, Delhi, Tokyo, and New York), standing alone, her back to the camera, immobile, like an axis interacting with – and resisting – the tumult of urban life. In this work exhibited on the lower level of the Bourse de Commerce, Kimsooja once again makes metaphorical use of her own body. Through its immobility and verticality, it threads the fabric of the world like a needle, humbly stitching up its tears and snags. With this performance, the artist provides spectators with a symbolic mirror that reflects both the image of a world in constant acceleration and her own identity in relation to that of others.

kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'
the artwork creates an inversion of reality where the sky within the glass dome plunges into a vast abyss

kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'
artist Kimsooja

kimsooja's vast mirror installation transforms bourse de commerce into a 'levitating space'
Kimsooja, A Needle Woman, 1999‑2000

kimsoojas-vast-mirror-installation-transforms-bourse-de-commerce-into-a-levitating-space-designboom-full-0

Kimsooja, A Needle Woman, 1999‑2000

 

 

project info: 

 

name: To Breathe – Constellation
artist: Kimsooja | @kimsoojastudio
curation: Emma Lavigne, General Director of the Collection, General Curator, Pinault Collection
location: Bourse De Commerce, Paris, France
dates: 21 February – 2 September 2024

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