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Kimsooja, 자오선 (Jaoseon), at Meridiano

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Opening February 2023

Kimsooja was selected for the inaugural exhibition at Meridiano, a new gallery in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, that offers an open framework for long-form, site-specific, and experimental exhibitions of new work by artists working internationally and across disciplines.

The exhibition features the work, Deductive Object – Bottari, 2023, a rock the artist discovered during her stay in Puerto Escondido. She placed this in the centre of Meridiano’s square room, which is the first space that visitors enter. The open-air space is exposed to the sky and natural elements, and Kimsooja considers the rock as a bottari that can replace the artist’s body during the exhibition’s duration. The rock’s surface was painted matte black as an attempt to dematerialize the rock’s weight, gravity, and inherent temporality. The rock by its nature conveys the essence of presence and solidity, and with its black colour, it also conveys an intriguing depth and absence. The act of painting may be understood in the context of wrapping an object with cloth like a bundle and serves as a symbolic contrast to the diffraction film installation work that the artist has been steadily presenting since 2006 in that it simultaneously conceals and reveals the inner space. This represents the core of Kimsooja’s practice, in which she addresses formalistic questions and sensitive issues of the human condition such as migration, poverty, violence, and the displaced self, combining performance, video, photo, and site-specific installations. Kimsooja brings together a conceptual and structural investigation of performance through mobility/immobility that inverts the notion of the artist as the predominant actor based on her “non-doing” and “non-making” principle.

Jaoseon initiates questions of materiality and ephemerality in Meridiano’s two exhibition spaces with the combination of a sculpture and a fire performance that simultaneously complement and interrogate each other. This work by artist Kimsooja is based on the lying, standing, and sitting (Buddhist zazen) shown in her (well-known) performance videos A Laundry Woman, A Homeless Woman, and A Needle Woman, as well as elements of nature and textiles that are organically connected and circulated in the exponential painting style. The artist brings the familiar, yet timeless elements viewers experience in life into the realm of the exhibition space to think and look at things anew.

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Sculpture: Deductive Object – Bottari, 2023, rock, matte black water-based paint, 117 h x 128 l x 176 w cm

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