Kimsooja, ‘Air of Earth’, 2009, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art

About Kimsooja

Kimsooja, born Kim Soo-Ja, adopted her nom de plume in 2003 when she picked a domain name for her first website; she was struck by the conceptual implications of combining her family name and given name, and memorialized the act as a conceptual piece titled A One-Word Name Is An Anarchist’s Name (2003). This musing on identity and its social implications is characteristic of Kimsooja’s performance works, in which she photographs or films herself in crowded city streets around the world with her back facing the camera. In these, she adopts different personae: the Needle Woman, the Beggar Woman, the Homeless Woman. Kimsooja is also known for her performances, sculptures, and installations using the bottari—the traditional Korean bed cover used to wrap and protect personal belongings—as a symbol of structure and connection.

Korean, b. 1957, Daegu, South Korea, based in New York, New York