To Breathe: Bottari
The 55th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
Curator / Commissioner: Seungduk Kim
Oranized by ARKO (Arts Council Korea)
Deputy commissioner: Kyungyun Ho
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The notion of bottari (bundle) as a whole and totality and the concept of sewing have been the central
components of Kimsooja's work for over three decades. Posing various questions about the formal aspects
of tableau, sculpture, object and installation; bottari encompasses issues of body, self and others and the
relationship of yin and yang to life and death. Bottari explores problems of location and dislocation;
migration; exile; and war while posing existential and cognitive questions in space and time.
Approaching the architecture of the Korean Pavilion as a bottari, the artist has wrapped the division between
nature and the interior space with a transluscent film. Treating the windows as the skin of the pavilion, the
film diffracts the natural sunlight as it showers the interior space with rainbow spectrums of light.
The intensity of the light in the pavilion will correspond to the daily movement of the sun rising to its setting
across the Korean Pavilion—which is located right next to the Lagna di Venezia—transforming the space
into a transcendental experience—folding and unfolding the phenomenon of light.
To Breathe: Bottari presents the empty space of the Pavilion, inviting only the bodies of the audience to
encounter the infinite reflections of light and sound. The artist's amplified inhaling, exhaling and humming
performance sound (The Weaving Factory, 2004-2013) fills the air, transforming the pavilion into a breathing
Simultaneously, the artist extends the experience of light and sound by creating an anechoic chamber.
A space in complete darkness that absorbs all audio waves, leaving nothing but the sound of the viewer's
own body, To Breathe: Blackout (2013) creates a soundless dark void of infinite reflection of self: a black
The artist invites audiences to be the live and active performers, experiencing a personal sensation and
awareness that reveals the extremes of light and darkness, sound and soundlessness, the known and the
unknown. This installation questions visual knowledge as the known and darkness as the unknown—that
originates from human ignorance—through two visual extremes that are connected as part of a whole.
The Korean Pavilion will become a physical and psychological sanctuary, questioning the conditions of
civilization in this era.
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