Luminous red, yellow, blue and green sheets hung on thin ropes sway softly in the new glass cube of the Kunsthalle Wien. They are part of the installation A Laundry Woman (2002) by the Korean artist, Kim Sooja. In this installation designed specifically for the project space, Sooja, who originally worked as a painter, arranges her ?pictures? as a room installation with traditional Korean cloths. Through these colourful bed covers, decorated with symbolic embroidery, Sooja transmits a feeling for both the usefulness as well as the beauty of the material.
Regardless of where one comes from, the need for nutrition, clothing and protection are the same and they will not diminish in the wake of modernisation and in the midst of globalisation. The covers are not merely an aesthetic and symbolic element; they are also the basis for the resting, sleeping, loving and dead body.
Calm is also expressed in Sooja?s video of the same name A Laundry Woman (2000). The artist stands at the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi, India. The dark water appears like a film passing by the artist, standing motionless, bringing with it parts of life in the things which it transports from a nearby crematorium. As in an act of cleansing, the artist “washes? them, accompanied by the reflections of the birds flying by. Through this meditation on life and death, the video returns to the original question of humanity. Despite the back view, the empathy between life and death is felt.
Kim Sooja was born in 1957 in Taegu, Korea, she has lived in New York since 1998. 1992?93 she was Artist in Residence at P.S. 1 International Studio Program. Numerous solo exhibitions, including: 2001 Kunsthalle Bern, 2000 Rodin Gallery, Seoul and ICC, Tokyo, 1997 Magasin, Grenoble. Kim Sooja is included in the upcoming Whitney Biennale, 2002.
The exhibition is a cooperation of the Kunsthalle Wien and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New
Curator: Gerald Matt