News - 14th of March 2018

MEDIA RELEASE | Zone of Nowhere by Kimsooja

Zone of Nowhere

Internationally acclaimed artist Kimsooja debuts at PICA with Zone of Nowhere Zone of Nowhere is the first solo exhibition in Australia by internationally acclaimed, New York based […]

Internationally acclaimed artist Kimsooja debuts at PICA with Zone of Nowhere

Zone of Nowhere is the first solo exhibition in Australia by internationally acclaimed, New York based multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja.

The exhibition features selected works from the South-Korean artist’s 30-year career, a major new site specific work created for PICA as well as a public art project on the streets of Perth.

Kimsooja explores the human condition through installation, performance, sculpture, video and photography and invites us to question the major challenges we face in this complex era. Heavily influenced by Buddhism, Zen, Confucianism, Christianity and the role of the artist as shaman, she creates lyrical artworks that draw inspiration from everyday activities and imagery.

To Breathe – Zone of Nowhere (2018) is an awe-inspiring installation of 30 large translucent flags suspended above PICA’s central gallery space. It originates from her earlier video work To Breathe – The Flags (2012), commissioned by the International Olympic Committee for the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

In this work, as in the earlier video version, national flags are layered upon each other, offering a translucent dissolving of symbols and emblems and a breakdown of international hierarchy or political prejudice.

The work expresses a wish for coexistence; for a society in which individuals unite in celebration of their distinctions and common humanity. The flags can also be seen affixed to the facades of communal spaces in Northbridge from mid-February to early March, as part of an extended public art project, supported by Wesfarmers Arts.

PICA invites the Perth community to seek out these bright beacons of hope and share their images on social media using the hashtag #ZoneofNowhere.

PICA’s Senior Curator Eugenio Viola said, “This work has heavily informed the exhibition’s title ‘Zone of Nowhere’, which refers to a no man’s land, a territory that is under the control of no-one.”

Some of Kimsooja’s most iconic works also feature in the exhibition, including her Bottari sculptures, which have repeatedly appeared as a site-specific signature since her 1992 residency at MoMA PS1 in New York. The word bottari means ‘bundles’ in Korean and refers to the traditional Korean bedcover used to wrap belongings when leaving a native place.

Tierra – Agua – Fuego – Aire / Earth – Water – Fire – Air (2009-2010) is a monumental 6 channel video installation that explores the four elements employed by Eastern and Western philosophers to describe the source of all energy and life while Mandala: Zone of Zero (2010) is a mesmerising installation that explores the mandala’s religious and cultural connotations and its significance as a symbol of eternity.

“This exhibition by Kimsooja, deftly curated by PICA’s Eugenio Viola so that it infiltrates our surrounding streets, is indeed timely,” said PICA Director Amy Barrett-Lennard. “The artist’s subtle and poetic responses to the global issues of migration and displacement, actual and perceived national hierarchies and the symbolism of nationhood seem particularly pertinent to us here, as we emerge once again from an Australia day long weekend spent grappling with how we might appropriately celebrate or express ourselves as Australian.”

Kimsooja: Zone of Nowhere is a Perth Festival event supported by Visual Arts Program Partner and PICA Public Project Partner Wesfarmers Arts.

The exhibition is complemented by the presentation of Kimsooja’s work Sewing into Walking, on display at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 17 February to 21 May 2018.

Housed in a striking heritage building in the heart of Perth, Western Australia, PICA is the city’s focal point for those wishing to experience the best of Australian and international visual, performance and interdisciplinary art.

PICA is both a producing and presenting institution that runs a year-round program of exhibitions, seasons in contemporary dance, theatre and performance and a range of interdisciplinary projects.


Dates and Times

Opening night
16 February 2018
6:30pm – 8:30pm                                               

Public art project
To Breathe – The Flags
15 February – 8 March 2018

Visual Arts Adventure – Perth Festival
17 February 2018
10am – 6pm

Exhibition continues
17 February – 29 April 2018

All PICA Galleries and streets of Northbridge                                      



Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries and RSVPs, please contact Tracy Routledge, Publicist via:
ph: 0412 223 221

High resolution images available here.



Born in 1957 in Daegu, South Korea, Kimsooja lives and works in New York.

Kimsooja, born Kim Soo-Ja, adopted her nom de plume in 2003 when she picked a domain name for her first website; she was struck by the conceptual implications of combining her family name and given name, and memorialised the act as a conceptual piece titled A One-Word Name Is An Anarchist’s Name (2003).

Her work has been widely exhibited internationally, including P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre/MoMA New York, USA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, USA; Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain; Magasin 3, Stockholm Konsthall, Sweden; Centre Pompidou Metz, France; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea; CAC Málaga, Spain; The National Museum of Contemporary Art EMST, Athens, Greece; Secession, Vienna, Austria; Musée d’Art Contemporaine, Lyon; PAC, Milan; Kunst Museum Dusseldorf; Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK; Louisiana Museum of Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; Hayward Gallery, London, UK; KIASMA, Helsinki, Finland; Miami Art Museum, USA; Perm Contemporary Art Museum, Russia; The National Institute of Contemporary Art, South Korea; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporaine de Saint Etienne, France; Pérez Art Museum Miami, USA; Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein.

Her work has been included five times in the Venice Biennale (1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, and in 2013 when Kimsooja represented Korea) and presented at the Documenta 14 at Fridericianum. Other Biennales where Kimsooja’s work has been presented are the 5th Istanbul Biennale (1997); São Paulo (1998); Sydney (1998); Asia-Pacific Triennale (1999); Yokohama Triennial (2005); Whitney (2002); Gwangju (1995, 2001, 2012); and Busan (2002, 2014). She was honored with the Ho-Am Prize (2015) and recently with the Asia Society Arts Award in Hong Kong (2017), and The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) in New York (2017).

Sign up to our newsletter