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Roots & Routes: Kimsooja's artistic work in Leiden

8 March 2024

On March 1st, Museum Lakenhal, Leiden University and LeidenGlobal joined forces to organise an expert meeting looking into the artistic universe of Kimsooja. Kimsooja is a globally known artist from Korea whose current exhibition, Thread Roots (Museum Lakenhal), delves deep into her personal and artistic journey.

In Leiden, Kimsooja is best known for her artwork 'To Breathe,' an outdoor installation displayed in front of the Lakenhal museum since 2022. The installation, which will be there for three years, has garnered significant attention. This marked the initial collaboration between Lakenhal and the artist. Subsequently, the museum has organised Kimsooja's first solo exhibition in the Netherlands: Thread Roots.

At the expert meeting, the public learned about the art journey of Kimsooja, exploring migration, mobility, and a sense of home. Curators Nicole Roepers (Museum De Lakenhal), Amanda Pinatih (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) and Keumhwa Kim (independent, Berlin), who all have worked with Kimsooja, gave introductory talks exploring the complex connections between textile arts and historical Asian collections.

"Being in Leiden, felt like homecoming", says Kimsooja at the round table that followed. Professor Emeritus Kitty Zijlmans from Leiden University, serving as the moderator, remarked that it seems as if the museum was designed for Kimsooja's work. Zijlmans highlighted the artist's ability to weave and connect different parts of Leiden. Kimsooja emphasized the importance of roots in discovering one's identity. Dr. Dobin Choi (also from Leiden University) drew connections between Kimsooja's concepts and the ideas of the Chinese philosopher Confucius, highlighting the interconnectedness of 'Roots' and 'Routes,' symbolising movement and continuation.

The exhibition "Thread Roots" is on display at Museum De Lakenhal until 21 July 2024

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