Born 1957

Artist Details

Birth Place
Taegu, South Korea
Phonetic Spelling
kihm soo jah
Multimedia (electronic; digital; video; film); Performance Art; Textiles
Places of Residence
New York City; Seoul; Paris
École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1984–85; Hong-IK University, Seoul, 1980–84
Retrospective Exhibitions

Kimsooja: Unfolding, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2013–14

NMWA Exhibitions

Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987–1997, 1997–98
Ten Contemporary Korean Women Artists, 1991

About the Artist

Kimsooja (who merged her surname and given name in 2003), is known for installations of cloth bundles that she created from found objects and traditional Korean fabrics.

Born in 1957 in Taegu, South Korea, Kimsooja became attuned to issues of migration and displacement early in life. Her father served in the military, so the family moved frequently.

After earning both her BFA and MFA in painting at Hong-Ik University in Seoul in 1980 and 1984 respectively, the artist began developing large textile collages. Kimsooja’s work evolved into three dimensions, exemplified by her installations of cloth bundles, called bottari. Since the late 1990s, Kimsooja has interpreted themes of migration and social connection through meditative performances and videos, as well as large-scale, interactive installations. 

Kimsooja received the Anonymous Was a Woman Award in 2002. She studied printmaking at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-arts in Paris and developed her bottari motif while an artist-in-residence at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1).

Kimsooja’s art has been featured in several Venice Biennale art fairs, and her one-person exhibitions include presentations at List Visual Arts Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  

National Museum of Women in the Arts