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"A Beggar Woman" & "A Homeless Woman"Kimsooja

December 3, 2009

Artist Kimsooja reflects on her series of videotaped performances—A Beggar Woman and A Homeless Woman (both 2000–01)—realized in cities around the world: Cairo, Delhi, Lagos, and Mexico City.

More information and credits

Credits

Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Richard Numeroff. Sound: Merce Williams. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Kimsooja.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Kimsooja

Kimsooja’s videos and installations blur the boundaries between aesthetics and transcendent experience through their use of repetitive actions, meditative practices, and serial forms. In many pieces, everyday actions—such as sewing or doing laundry—become two- and three-dimensional or performative activities. Central to her work is the “bottari,” a traditional Korean bed cover used to wrap and protect personal belongings, which Kimsooja transforms into a philosophical metaphor for structure and connection. While striking for their vibrant color and density of imagery, Kimsooja’s works emphasize metaphysical changes within the artist-as-performer as well as the viewer.

“And I suddenly felt so vulnerable, and realized that I had become a real beggar now. And I couldn’t stop crying from that moment.”

Kimsooja

Performance

7:22
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14:50
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12:01
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2:51
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In this interview, conducted in 2008 at Kimsooja’s Hudson Street Studio in New York City, the artist discusses becoming an artist, her earliest influences, and her “breathing room” installations.