Photos by Mikåel Falke and Fabrice Kada
* click to hear the soundtrack
Lotus: Zone of Zero
Installation in the Rotunda at Galerie Ravenstein, Brussels, 2008
* click images to view larger
Kimsooja (1957) is one of Korea’s most renowned artists on the international scene. She has lived and worked in New York since 1999, and her work has been exhibited throughout Asia, America and Europe. Her practice spans a variety of artistic ranges, such as video, installations, performance and photography, and she explores varied themes, including nomadism, the relationship with one's inner self and with others, and the role of women in society; all of which are frequently recurring subjects. Often in her work Kimsooja questions the role of the individual within society and their purpose in a world that is chaotic, and ephemeral. Her universe combines a subtle mixture of references drawn from Christianity, Zen Buddhism, Confucianism, Shamanism and Tao philosophy, but moves beyond these religious references to address the issues facing all of humanity.
The installation Lotus: Zone of Zero, 2008, is composed of approximately two thousand lanterns, in the shape of lotus flowers, expanding outward upon a circular structural space, was specifically conceived for the Rotunda of the Raverstein Gallery. This piece was first exhibited in another structure at the Palais Rameau in Lille in 2003, which was commissioned by Dijion Consortium. By relocating the installation to the Rotunda of the Ravenstein gallery, Kimsooja wishes to address the public, and invites them to experience a moment of peace and contemplation of the harmonized world. The focus on anonymity recurs often in Kimsooja’s work, reflecting each individual in universality. Her use of the lotus flower forms, which are often used in Korean Buddhist Temples, are a reference to the state of mandala. Each sound element, which are Tibetan, Gregorian and Islamic chants, merges together in the center of the space, enhancing the sense of belonging to a universal, spiritual world, that inspires us to look within and reflect on the current political and religious conflicts within the world. Although her work is devoid of direct political connotations currently affecting the world, Kimsooja poses these questions to challenge us, and invites the audience to locate themselves within all the different spiritual zones that co-exist in a single space, which can provide the keys for understanding the world in which we live.
Lotus: Zone of Zero, 2008, is an invitation to a journey of discovery in which the artist provides space and time where the audience observes the differences and similarities of cultural, religious, and political awareness. Kimsooja offers us an installation which, above and beyond its aesthetic qualities, is a call for peace, love and understanding amongst human beings.