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Kimsooja at the Atelier Hermès


Internationally-acclaimed Korean video artist Kimsooja created the inaugural exhibition for 2010 at the Atelier Hermès: an installation of seven videos exploring our planet's four component elements – earth, air, fire and water.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Kimsooja at the Atelier Hermès
© Kiyong NAM

After Bottari, a symbolic work centred on the essence of Korean womanhood in contemporary society, and her video A Needle Woman, featuring the artist herself as a kind of anonymous everywoman in a diverse array of space-times, Kimsooja focuses on the deciphering of the natural world and its energies.

Her new work is based on the principles of philosophia naturalis, according to which the world is divided into four component elements, one of which is contained in every natural substance.

Kimsooja's installation comprises seven videos recorded in slow motion at different times of the day and night on the volcanic island of Lanzarote in the Canaries, and Guatemala's active Pacaya volcano.

The videos are projected on several separate screens, interacting and communicating with one another in an open-plan setting, to create a dynamic, mutable reality. The four elements interact visually, and transform one another on contact: fire becomes air or earth, earth becomes fire or water, water becomes earth or air, and air becomes water or fire. Kimsooja's videos do not present figurative images. For her, the camera is an invisible frame capturing the component essences and movements of Nature. The result is a living tableau, a revelation of the interrelationship between the material and immaterial, the real and unreal.

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