Mumbai: A Laundry Field

Photos by Niteen Kasle, Installation views by Oak Taylor Smith

Mumbai: A Laundry Field

Installation at Continua Gallery, Beijing, 2008

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The work Mumbai: A Laundry Field, showing at Galleria Continua, Beijing, in a 4 channel video format, evolved from the series A Needle Woman (1999-2001 and 2005). The series was filmed in cities and other locations around the world.

The artist, in a featureless outfit, has her back to the camera, almost like a silhouette. The central figure is an unknown and common presence, an "everywoman", constantly portrayed as a fixed point in the flow of the passing crowds, or lying still while clouds pass overhead.

In this video series, Kimsooja's body is always an anonymous presence moving into a deep phase of meditation, immersing in contemplative scenarios, breaking through the world's surface and deep into its soul, "like a needle in a haystack". The eye of the camera corresponds to that of the artist, standing apart, watching from a detached perspective. It is as if in a pure act of concentration the world vision would appear clearer and undisturbed through the narrow needle's "eye".

Most of Kimsooja's works seem to belong to a place where time is indefinable. They have in common universality, a timelessness that encapsulates both past and present. The present tense is then symbolised by the artist's body itself. The body becomes a medium or a void that the audience is invited to stare at.

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