Art21 Extended Play

Kimsooja | “A Beggar Woman” & “A Homeless Woman”


Artist Kimsooja reflects on her series of videotaped performances — A Beggar Woman and A Homeless Woman (both 2000-01) — realized in cities around the world: Cairo, Delhi, Lagos, and Mexico City.

Kimsooja’s videos and installations blur the boundaries between aesthetics and transcendent experience through their use of repetitive actions, meditative practices, and serial forms. In many pieces, everyday actions—such as sewing or doing laundry—become two- and three-dimensional or performative activities. In videos that feature her in various personas (Needle Woman, Beggar Woman, Homeless Woman), she leads us to reflect on the human condition, offering open-ended perspectives through which she presents and questions reality.

Kimsooja is featured in the Season 5 (2009) episode Systems of the Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century television series on PBS.

Her work can currently be seen in the exhibitions Your Bright Future at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (through February 14th, 2010) and Dress Codes: The Third ICP Triennial of Photography and Video at the International Center of Photography in New York (through January 17th, 2010).

VIDEO | Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Richard Numeroff. Sound: Merce Williams. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Kimsooja.