Kimsooja’s breathtakingly beautiful photo, video and installation work bring movement to meditation and meditation to daily life. Grounded in a nomadic work philosophy based on life experience, her work reflects a Buddhist way of life - ”detachment from both affection and materialism.” However, her work also reflects a unique sensuality. The detachment of the enlightened mind of the Buddha loses none of its ability to witness beauty, it merely loses its external craving for beauty as a means to experience or hold onto pleasure. How does the enlightened mind do this? Through contemplation and the ultimate realization that that same beauty it seeks outside dwells within each human being. They are one and the same.
(Image: Kimsooja, Bottari Truck – Migrateurs, 2007, Single Channel Video, 10:01, Silent, Courtesy of MAC/VAL, Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne and the Artist.)
The principles of harmony and oneness are also reflected in Kimsooja’s installation Lotus Zone of Zero, 2008, currently housed at Rotunda at Galerie Ravenstein in Brussels through January 18, 2009. The site specific installation consists of approximately 2000 lanterns shaped as lotus flowers. The visual is accompanied by sound in the form of Tibetan, Gregorian and Islamic chants that merge in the center of the space. Honoring a vision of peace, the work embodies the dance between individuality and universality, yin and yang, and a potential future for planet earth.
(Image: Kimsooja, Lotus: Zone of Zero, 2008, Rotunda at Galerie Ravenstein, Brussels, Approx. 2000 lotus lanterns, Tibetan, Gregorian, and Islamic chants, Steel structure and cables. Photo by Mikäel Falke. Courtesy of the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea, first exhibited in a different configuration at the Palais Rameau, Lille, 2003, Courtesy Dijon Consortium, ©Kimsooja.)
From a visual standpoint, Kimsooja’s work uses composition, color and form to cleary convey individuality while simultaneously capturing vibrant harmony through these same principles. The imagination is tempted to hear the repetitive movement of transport in Bottari Truck – Migrateurs and Mumbai: A Laundry Field. A movement with the potential to inspire a trancelike state leading to deep meditation or pleasurable inner bliss. Lotus: Zone of Zero inspires a similar sensation through an imagined flickering of lantern flames leading to moments of zen, fleeting or otherwise. In the end, or rather beginning, there is an underlying dialogue between the senses and Buddhism within Kimsooja’s work. A conversation on how we can experience pleasure without suffering?
(Image: Kimsooja, Mumbai: A Laundry Field, 2008, Photograph from the Four Channel Video Project, 32 x 25-6/16 inches, Courtesy of the Artist)
Visit Kimsooja’s website or view selected exhibitions/events:
11th International Cairo Biennale
Opening: December 20th, 2008
Mumbai: A Laundry Field
Galeria Continua, Beijing
September 4th, 2008 – December 27th, 2008
Street Art, Street Life
The Bronx Museum of the Arts
September 14th, 2008 – January 25, 2009
(Image: Kimsooja, Lotus: Zone of Zero (work in progress), 2008, Kimsooja – Lotus: Zone of Zero, 2008, Rotunda at Galerie Ravenstein, Brussels, Approx. 2000 lotus lanterns, Tibetan, Gregorian, and Islamic chants, Steel structure and cables. Photo by Fabrice Kada. Courtesy of the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korea, first exhibited in a different configuration at the Palais Rameau, Lille, 2003, Courtesy Dijon Consortium, ©Kimsooja.)