Kimsooja’s London Olympics project lives on

by Philip Gowman on 21 July, 2018

in General arts news

Surfing the web recently, following a link related to UK based Korean artist / photographer Bae Chan-hyo, I came across this article in the New York Times on the subject of thirteen artists dealing with the subject of migration.

Apart from the piece on Bae, which highlighted some new work of his from 2018 (which I hope Purdy Hicks will be exhibiting soon) there is also a section on Kimsooja, focusing on a project that originated at the time of the London 2012 Olympics.

Kimsooja, 'To Breath - the Flags' 2018

Kimsooja, ‘To Breath – the Flags’ 2018 (Courtesy of Kimsooja studio)

To Breathe – The Flags (2012) is a video “commissioned by the International Olympic Committee on the occasion of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, which depicts the world’s national flags dissolving in a continuous loop; their iconic surfaces morphing into one another. They appear in alphabetical order by country, without hierarchy or political prejudice, in the hope of creating a visual experience whereby national difference and conflicts can be merged and harmonised.” (source)

The video has formed the basis of subsequent exhibitions, from installations in the Contemporary Art Trail, Aix-en-Provence, France, 2012 to, most recently, a solo show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary art in Western Australia, 2018.

Kimsooja inspecting the installation at PICA

Kimsooja inspecting the installation at PICA (photo: Iain Gillespie | The West Australian)

The project was something of which I was completely unaware at the time of the 2012 Olympics, but it’s nice to know that its offshoots are forming part of her exhibitions that can be seen more recently.

An extract of the video work can be found on the artist’s website here.

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