Transforming Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s historic chapel into an arena for reflection, South Korean artist Kimsooja’s To Breathe uses light and mirrors to explore the meditative experiences of space.
The work expands upon the South Korean concept of “bottari” – a bundle of fabric traditionally used to move possessions from place to place. Defined by the artist as “a self-contained world which can contain everything materially and conceptually”, this item is extended in her work, which incorporates larger architectural spaces.
Opening and unfolding the room, Kimsooja’s piece turns solid surfaces into fluid forms, making confining structures appear expansive. Light is refracted; natural changes form infinite rainbow spectrums across the floor. The artist notes: “Making space means creating a different space, rather than making a new one. The space is always there in a certain form and fluidity, which can be transformed into a completely different substance.”
For viewers, each experience is unique. Accompanied by a soundtrack of Kimsooja’s breathing, the artwork offers intimate and shared encounters. As a site of communal contemplation, the work celebrates a shared humanity – regardless of geographical borders.
Other highlights include Needle Woman: Galaxy was a Memory, Earth is a Souvenir, which takes traditional crafts such as sewing and weaving as a starting point. Exploring the cultural, historical and conceptual significance of such media, the piece positions the body as a needle that weaves together the fabric of lives, cultures and cities. Galaxy was a Memory, Earth is a Souvenir is particularly striking, as a large spire appears to extend deep down into the earth and endlessly up towards the cosmos.
Opens 30 March. Find out more here.
Lead image: To Breathe: Bottari, 2013, mixed media installation with The Weaving Factory, 2004–2013, the artist’s voice performance sound, 5.1 channel, 9:14, loop. Photo Jaeho Chong.