Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Visual Arts 2007


A side angle portrait of Kimsooja in front of a white wall. Her black hair is pulled into a low bun and she wears a black jacket. With her arms crossed in front of her chest, she looks into the distance.
  • 2007 Grants to Artists
  • Visual Arts
  • Visual Artist
  • Born Taegu, Korea, 1957
  • Lives in New York, NY; Paris, France; and Seoul, South Korea
  • Additional Information

It was an honor to be chosen to receive the 2007 FCA grant. I very much appreciated being associated with the organization, and being able to create a new piece with this support.

- Kimsooja, January 9, 2008

Artist Statement

Adressing issues of the displaced self and others, Kimsooja's work combines performance, video, photo, and site-specific installation using sound, light, and specific Korean bedcovers. With the eyes of a mirror and a needle that reveals and brings us to an awareness of self, Kimsooja investigates questions concerning the conditions of humanity, while engaging issues of aesthetics, culture, politics, and the environment we live in. Kimsooja brings together a conceptual and a structural investigation of performance, installation, video and photography, as well as painting, drawing and sculpture, through an exploration of materiality/immateriality, mobility/immobility, in a manner of non-making and non-doing, that inverts the notion of the artist as the predominant actor. Taking us on her journey that evolves with the continuous unfolding of her concept of Bottari (Korean word meaning bundle) and the notion of Needle and Mirror, Kimsooja's work invites us to question our existence, the world, and the major challenges we are facing in this era.

- December 2014


Kimsooja is a conceptual artist whose work involves performance, video, photography, light, sound, and installation. She interrogates these forms structurally and conceptually and seeks to displace the role of the artist as sole creator. Central to her work is an evolving understanding of the Korean word "bottari," brightly covered bed covers tied in a bundle that symbolize different stories, as a concept.

Prior to her 2007 FCA grant, Kimsooja had been featured internationally in the 1st Kwangju Biennale (1995), 5th Istanbul Biennale (1997), 24th São Paulo Biennale (1998), 11th Biennale of Sydney (1998), 5th Biennale de Lyon (2000), 71st Whitney Biennial (2002), and 2nd Valencia Biennale (2003); her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland (2001); Kunsthalle Wien, Austria (2002); and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Spain (2006). In 2001, she first showed A Needle Woman in its completed form at MoMA PS1 and Kunsthalle Bern in Switzerland. Kimsooja's 2007 Grants to Artists Award supported a project titled Mumbai: A Laundry Field, a three-channel synchronized video projection shown at Kewenig Gallery, Cologne (2007); Continua Gallery, Beijing (2008); Continua Galery, Les Moulins (2009); Feldkirch Church, co-organized by Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein (2010); and Sullivan Gallery, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011).

Since receiving her 2007 FCA grant, Kimsooja's work has been the subject of solo exhibitions internationally at BOZAR, Brussels (2008); Hirshhorn Museum (2008); Baltic Center, United Kingdom (2009); Feldkirch Church, Lichtenstein (2010); Miami Art Museum (2012); Perm Contemporary Art Museum, Russia (2012); Kunsthal 44 Møen, Denmark (2012); Musée d'Art Moderne de Saint-Etienne, France (2012); and Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada (2013). In 2013, Kimsooja created an immersive mixed-media installation entitled To Breathe: Bottari for The Korean Pavilion at the 55th Biennale di Venezia. She turned the focus of the exhibition to the pavilion itself by wrapping the interior with a translucent film that diffracted the sunlight entering through the windows to produce rainbow light spectrums. Her work has also been featured in the 2nd Tessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2009), 3rd Moscow Biennale (2009), 55th Biennale di Venezia (2013), and Cornell University Biennale (2014).

Subsequent to her 2007 FCA grant, Kimsooja was awarded a New York State Council on the Arts Grant (2008), a CEC ArtsLink grant (2012), and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2013). Prior to receiving her 2007 Grants to Artists award, she had been recognized with The Korean Culture and Arts Foundation Award (1996), the Whitney Museum's American Art Award (2002), and an Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation Award (2002).

Kimsooja earned a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in painting from Hong-IK University in Seoul, South Korea in 1980 and 1984, respectively. She has been an artist in residence at MoMA PS1 (1992-1993), the World Views Program at the World Trade Center (1998-1999), Musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne in Vitry-sur-Seine, France (2008), and Cornell University (2014). Kimsooja was a visiting artist at School of The Art Institue of Chicago (2006) and Yale University (2010). She has given artist talks at Cornell University, Parsons the New School for Design, School of Visual Arts, New York University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Pratt Institute.

An installation image of a screen broken into thirds within a dark stone building. The images on the screen are colorfully hued and contrast sharply with the grey stone around them. On the left third of the screen, a thin street with clothing hanging from clotheslines is pictured. In the middle, there is an image of a man drinking water from his hand. On the right, there is an image of a crowded orange train with passengers leaning outwards.
FCA-supported Mumbai: A Laundry Field, 2007-2008, 3-channel video projection, 10:25 minute loop, sound. Installation view at Johanniterkirche Feldkirch 2010. Presented by Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein. Courtesy of Kimsooja Studio.
An installation image of a large screen broken into thirds in a sparse white room. Two white columns are situated perfectly in front of the lines where the screen has been segmented. On the left of the screen, there is the image of a thin street, in the middle there is the image of a man washing his face with water from a green bucket, and on the right, there is an image of passengers leaning out of an orange train.
FCA-supported Mumbai: A Laundry Field, 2007, 3-channel video projection (early version), 10:30 minute loop, sound. Installation at Kewenig Galerie. Photo by Simon Vogel. Courtesy of Kimsooja Studio.
An installation image of four screens arranged within a large open space interrupted only by columns. On the far wall of the space, there are floor to ceiling windows. On the far left screen, there is an image of a child on a thin street. The next screen depicts a green and pink fabric awning. Next, there is a screen with a crowded orange train. On the far right, there is a screen depicting a white box on a dark stone background.
FCA-supported Mumbai: A Laundry Field, 2007-2008, 4 channel video projection, 10:25 minute loop, sound. Installation view at the Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2011. Photo by James Prinz. Courtesy of School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Kimsooja Studio.
An image of people washing clothes on stone cylinders. The man in the foreground flips a collection of clothing behind him so that water drops splash around him.
Press announcement for Mumbai: A Laundry Field at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, 2010.
An image of a woman dressed all in black standing with her back to the camera within a large glass building. Light reflecting within the building creates small rainbows around the space.
To Breathe – A Mirror Woman at Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, Madrid, 2006, diffraction grating film, mirror, sound from Kimsooja's voice performance The Weaving Factory, 2004. Photo by Jaeho Chong. Courtesy Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.