Throughout the past forty years, Kimsooja’s conceptual practice has been dedicated to exploring the human condition through the awareness of self and others in search for a comprehensive totality. Her diverse practice combines performance, film, sculpture, photography, and site-specific installation using textiles, light, and sound to create a transcendent experience for the viewer. Rooted in the practice of sewing, Kimsooja's seminal work A Needle Woman, positions her body as a symbolic needle, a motionless figure in the center of urban environments passing through the fabric of a place and its people. Metaphorically referring to the way the moving body weaves connections with new contexts and new situations, this concept reoccurs throughout Kimsooja’s practice. 

Often engaging with cultural signifiers, the bottari — a traditional Korean bed cover used to wrap and protect personal belongings — has become a central form in her practice. Representative of essential belongings and a nomadic lifestyle, the bottari is a memory of our own body, relating to the past, present, and future. Kimsooja extends the bottari concept to architectural spaces, transforming a room or building into a transcendental experience by wrapping and weaving light, sound, and reflection to inspire thoughtful introspection.


Born in 1957 Daegu, Korea, Kimsooja lives and works in Seoul, Paris, and New York. The artist received her MFA in painting from the Hong-IK University, Seoul, Korea in 1984.

Since the 1980s, the artist has participated in numerous international exhibitions, projects, and site-specific installations. In 2013, Kimsooja represented Korea in the 55th Venice Biennale with To Breathe: Bottari. The artist has also participated in Venice Biennale; BIENNALSUR; Asia Society Triennial; Gwangju Biennale; Busan Biennale; Whitney Biennial; Biennale de Lyon; Sao Paulo Biennale among others.

Significant solo exhibitions include Weaving The Light, Cisternerne, Frederiksberg Museums, Copenhagen (2023); Sowing into Painting, Wanås Konst, Wanås, Sweden (2020); Traversées / Kimsooja, 13 site specific installation within the city of Poitiers, France (2019); Kimsooja: Archive of Mind, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts (2019); Zone of Nowhere, PICA, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Perth, Australia (2018); Weaving the World, Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein (2017); MMCA Hyundai Motors Series 2016: KIMSOOJA - Archive of Mind, MMCA, Seoul, Korea (2016); Kimsooja - To Breathe - Zone of Zero, CAC Malaga, Spain (2016); Kimsooja: Thread Routes, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain (2015); Kimsooja - To Breathe, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Metz, France (2015); Unfolding, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2013); Kimsooja: A Needle Woman, Miami Art Museum, Miami, Florida (2012);  Kimsooja: A Needle Woman, Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2009); Black Box: Kimsooja, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C. (2008); Kimsooja, Respirar - Una Mujer Espejo / To Breathe - A Mirror Woman, Crystal Palace, commissioned by Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain (2006); Kimsooja, Respirare / To Breathe, A Site-Specific Installation at La Fenice Theater, in conjunction with a joint Solo Exhibition at Fondazione Bevilacqua la Masa, Venice, Italy (2006); Kimsooja, Journey into the World, EMST, The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (2005); Kimsooja, Conditions of Humanity, traveling show, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France; Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, PAC, Milan, Italy; Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany (2003-2004); Kimsooja: A Needle Woman, MoMA PS1, New York (2001) among others.

Kimsooja has also participated in multiple artist residencies around the world including at the Cité de la Céramique, Manufacture Nationale de Sèvres, Sèvres, France (2018) and Cornell University in New York (2014), and Le MAC/VAL, the Musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne in Vitry-sur-Seine, France (2007), and the Center for Contemporary Art in Kitakyushu, Japan (1999), and World Views Program at the World Trade Center, New York (1998) and MoMA PS1, New York (1992).

Permanent and long-term installations include To Breathe, Metro station at Mairie de Saint-Ouen, Paris, France (2023); To Breathe, Metz Cathedral, France (2022); To Breathe, Oude Vest, Leiden, The Netherlands (2022); To Breathe, Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea (2021); Deductive Object, Herning Museum of Contemporary Art, Herning, Denmark (2017). Mariposa Land Port of Entry, Nogales, Arizona (2012); Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington (2011).

Kimsooja’s work can be found in the permanent collections of Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; Leeum Museum of Art, Seoul, Korea; Seoul Museum of Art, Korea; Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, Japan; K21 Kunstsammlung, Dusseldorf, Germany; M+, Hong Kong; The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Museo d'Art Contemporanea Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy; Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lyon (FNAC), France; Musée MAC/VAL, Val de Marne, France; Museum of Modern Art, St. Etienne, France; MUDAM, Grand Duke Jean Museum of Modern Art(MUDAM - Luxembourg), Luxembourg; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, Art Gallery New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, EMST, Athens, Greece; Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany; among many others.