Bottari with the Artist, 1994, used Korean clothes and bedcovers, Yang Dong village, Korea. Photo by Ju Myung Duk.

Kimsooja: Journey into the World

Anna Kafetsi, 2005

Kimsooja's Bottari Truck has begun its new journey...

With the baggage of the present bearing silent witness to multicoloured journeys, the artist, immobile and free, crosses time, wanders amongst familiar places and memories, visits histories and fragments of histories, returns to the world of singularity and difference. To her own body.

Her reconciliation is like the rhythmic fluidity of the Needle-Woman on the curve of the rock, there where earth meets the heavens; it is also like the poetic meditation of the immobile woman before the painting of the River Yamuna.

Kimsooja's journey is our journey, too.

Alone, with her back to us, but with her gaze on a level with our own, she invites us to journey into ourselves through her eyes. She becomes the in between space that unites the self with the other. Which is why any similarity with Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer is confined to contrast. She counterposes the sanctity of her anonymity and the unity with the antagonistic gulf between the romantic ego and the Sublime. Female mystery with male conquest. Alterity with identity; the alterity of her self and of her gender. Of her exile and of her nomadic wanderings.

The same desire for reconciliation brings her and brings us into the world, into the heart of its metropolises. Silent and immobile once more, she penetrates powerfully and resolutely into the body of the crowd, always against the tide. With her difference interrupting and bridging the flow at one and the same time. With her poetic subtlety revealing the counter forces, but neutralizing them, too. Daring to dramatize human conditions and situations she fights. Social and political exclusion, isolation, want, marginalization. Using the persona of the foreigner, the homeless woman, the beggar woman, to break through to the Other side.

It is Kimsooja's journey into herself and others. Through the others. A journey into the world.

Anna Kafetsi —
BA in Philosophy (University of Athens), PhD in Aesthetics and History of Art at Paris 1 - Sorbonne. Formal Curator of National Museum of Modern Art, Founding Director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art since 2000.

— Preface of the catalogue, 'Kimsooja: Journey into the World' from the artist's solo show at The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, 2005