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Traversées \ Kimsooja

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The first edition of Traversées, a new international biennial project, will open on Saturday the 12th of October in the historic centre of Poitiers, France. Under the artistic direction of curators Emma Lavigne and Emmanuelle de Montgazon, the Korean-born conceptual multimedia artist Kimsooja (°Daegu, 1957) was given carte blanche to map out an artistic route through the medieval city. Kimsooja addresses the theme of traversées, or crossing, in relation to 15 historical sites, including the medieval seat of dukes, which later became the city's courthouse and transforms into an art exhibition space for the first time for Traversées / Kimsooja. In addition, Kimsooja has invited twenty artists to participate in the project – compagnons de route from all continents whose work resonates with her practice through the theme of traversées. With the selection of installations and performances, Traversées / Kimsooja encourages the visitor to look at the city through a diverse lens.

Kimsooja presents more than ten large scale site-specific installations including Archive of Mind, To Breathe, Bottari 1999-2019, four films of her series Thread Routes including a new commissioned chapter Thread Routes Vl, as well as four performance videos including A Needle Woman, Mumbai: A Laundry Field, and Bottari Truck - Migrateurs. In the majestic Palace of the dukes of Aquitaine, Kimsooja's Archive of Mind is conceived of as an axis, as a starting point of crossing the city. This is based on the very principles of co-existence and harmony that have inspired her work for over thirty five years. With Bottari 1999-2019, Kimsooja uses the Korean word for bundle to refer directly to individuals who are forced to migrate; to cross sea and land. She has packed all her belongings from her New York East Village apartment, where she lived for the past twenty years, into a container shipped to Poitiers and installed it in front of the Cathedrale Saint Pierre. Kimsooja responds to the Poitiers philosopher Michel Foucault with a number of her works, including To Breathe at the Tour Maubergeon and Confort Moderne, using mirrors and light to transform spaces of historical and industrial architecture.

Traversées \ Kimsooja follows various projects in which Kimsooja took part this year, including exhibitions at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK, Peabody Essex Museum, USA, Rubin Museum of Art, USA, and Salon Suisse at the Venice Biennale.

Traversées \ Kimsooja, is initiated and organized by the City of Poitiers, from October 12, 2019 to January 19, 2020. (free admission.) This project is supported by Axel Vervoordt Gallery.

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  • Kimsooja, To Breathe, 2019. Installation view at the Tour Maubergeon
    © Courtesy Ville de Poitiers, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, and Kimsooja Studio
  • Kimsooja, To Breathe, 2019. Installation view at the Traversées Poitiers Courtesy Ville de Poitiers
    © Axel Vervoordt Gallery, and Kimsooja Studio