Born in Taegu, South Korea, in 1957, lives in New York and Seoul

In her works, Kimsooja combines performance, video, photography, and installation, and dedicates herself to questions of physical and mental location and dislocation. In her works, she blurs the boundaries between aesthetic and metaphysical experiences through repetitive, meditative actions and the use of serial forms. Her works are therefore strongly influenced by Korean culture, in particular sewing. One of her most important works series is the Botari (the Korean term for “bundles”), cloths for bundling up and transporting personal belongings—an essential object for nomadic life, on whose form and significance the artist reflects on countless levels.

Deductive Object, 2016

Site specific installation consisting of painted welded steel, aluminium mirror panels
Sculpture: 2.45 × 1.50 m, Mirror: 10 × 10 m

Photographs: Installation at Kimsooja Archive of Mind at MMCA, Seoul, Photo by Aaron Wax, Courtesy of MMCA and Hyundai Motor Co., Kukje Gallery, Seoul, and Kimsooja Studio

The ambitious project of a painted, egg-shaped sculpture by Kimsooja was produced entirely in manual work in Shanghai. In cooperation with the artist, the realization was developed based on a small model as well as fabric samples at the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen Sculpture Production (Shanghai). The egg-shaped form—inspired by holy Indian Brahmanda stones, also known as world eggs—weas supposed to be painted with the stripe pattern of a traditional piece of Korean clothing (saekdongot).

Thanks to the uniform geometry, it was possible to create the CAD data directly and hand it over to our chasing workshop partner in Shanghai. Based on a 1:1 model of glass fiber reinforced plastic (GRP), the individual parts were chased by hand in chromium steel. They were then equipped with an internal structure and welded to it. The weld seams were removed and the surface was finely polished.

The traces that the manual technique brings along with it were perfected in time-consuming handwork. The flawless geometric form, with a smooth uniform surface was achieved in meticulous, detailed work of several weeks through repeated corrections by means of leveling out and sanding.

A further challenge was presented by finding the exact shade of color from the tradition obangsaek color spectrum. With the aid of optical measuring instruments and computer-steered mixing systems, the colors were tested in close exchange with the artist. Since every color depends to a great extent on the surface of the carrier, the particular difficulty was comparing the color effects on the cloth model with the effects that can be achieved on metal. In addition, the colored stripes became thinner and thinner in the course of the production process, since they had to comply with a particular number of repetitions. In a specially produced rotating device, the sculpture was finally lacquered by airbrush and the thin, tapering stripes glued on in an extremely complex process.

Deductive Object was exhibited for the first time on the occasion of the solo exhibition Kimsooja—Archive of Mind at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea, from July 2016 to February 2017. It was subsequently presented at the Art Basel Hong Kong in 2017.