Miami Art Museum presents Kimsooja: A Needle Woman

From June 29 through August 26, 2012.

Kimsooja, A Needle Woman (Lagos), 1999-2001. Eight-channel video installation, silent. 6:33 minute loop. Courtesy of the artist
Miami Art Museum is opening an exhibition of videos by Korean artist Kimsooja. The exhibition’s title, Kimsooja: A Needle Woman, is borrowed from the centerpiece of the exhibition, a multi-channel video installation exploring globalization’s impact on cities throughout the world. Kimsooja: A Needle Woman will open with an artist talk and preview on Thursday, June 28, from 6 – 9 pm. In conjunction with the exhibition, MAM will host related programs including: movement workshops for children (July 14) and adults (July 28) designed to bring about greater awareness of the relationship between oneself and one’s surroundings; and a film screening of LAGOS / KOOLHAAS (August 18), a documentary exploring the complex city of Lagos, one of the cities featured in Kimsooja’s A Needle Woman, through the observations of urban theorist Rem Koolhaas. For more information, please visit

Kimsooja’s A Needle Woman (1999-2001) consists of eight synchronized videos projected at large scale, each depicting the bustling center of a major world city: Cairo, Delhi, Lagos, London, Mexico City, New York, Shanghai, and Tokyo. In each projection, a lone figure wearing neutral gray clothes stands utterly motionless with her back to the camera, immersed amid a torrent of pedestrians. With this simple gesture, the artist exemplifies the perennial struggle to preserve a place for the individual within society, while embodying the experience of being engulfed within a foreign culture. In the process, she provides a vivid sense of the effects of globalization at street level.

“The figure that appears in these images confronts head-on the fearsome power of the contemporary city; at the same time, through her stillness, she personifies the possibility of making peace with it,” said René Morales, MAM associate curator. “Issues of urbanism and the rhetoric that surrounds the ‘global city’ construct have particular resonance here in Miami. Kimsooja deals with these topics with nuance and poetry.”

This presentation also includes two closely related works by Kimsooja: In A Needle Woman – Kitakyushu, the artist lies prostrate atop a rocky peak as clouds swirl hypnotically above her; while in A Laundry Woman – Yamuna River, she stands at the banks of a sacred waterway in India, suspended amid an ethereal void created by the sky’s reflection on the river surface. Offering a direct counterpoint to the larger series, the pair creates a space of timeless serenity within the installation, a momentary respite from the frenetic energy of the 21st-century cities that surround them.

Kimsooja was born in Taegu, South Korea in 1957, and lives in New York, Paris, and Seoul. Her work has been exhibited internationally since the 1990s. Solo exhibitions have been presented at prestigious venues including P.S.1/MOMA, New York, USA; Crystal Palace of Reina Sophia, Madrid, Spain; Baltic Center, Gateshead, UK; BOZAR Brussels, Belgium; Yong Gwang Nuclear Power Plant Project by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Gwacheon-si, South Korea; Atelier Hermes, Seoul, South Korea; Fondazione Bevilacqua, La Masa, Italy; La Fenice, Venice, Italy; Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland; Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria; Rodin Gallery of the Samsung Museum, Seoul, South Korea; Institute of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan; Contemporary Art Museum, Lyon, France; Museum Kunst Palast, Dusseldorf, Germany; and Padiglione d’Arte Conetmporanea, Milan, Italy. She has participated in numerous international biennial exhibitions including those of Venice, São Paulo, Istanbul, Lyon, Kwangju, Busan, Sydney, Valencia, Thessaloniki, and Moscow.

Artist Talk and Exhibition Preview: Kimsooja: A Needle Woman
Thursday, June 28, 2012, 6-9pm
Talk begins 6:30pm (Space is limited. First come, first seated.)
MAM members free, non-members $10

Second Saturdays are Free for Families: “Stillness & Movement”. Saturday, July 14, 2012, 1 – 4 p.m., tour 2 p.m. Free and open to the public

Tour and Workshop: Stillness & Movement
Saturday, July 28, 2012, 2-3:30pm
MAM members free, non-members $8 (general museum admission)

Following a curator-led tour of Kimsooja: A Needle Woman, explore exhibition themes through this interactive workshop. Participants will explore the multiple possibilities of bodily movement and stillness, both at the level of the individual and as a human collective. Priscilla Marrero and Carlota Pradera, professional dancers and choreographers, will facilitate together with Gustavo Matamoros, sound artist. Space is limited. RSVP is required to 305.375.4073 or

Film Screening: LAGOS / KOOLHAAS, directed by Bregtje van der Haak
Saturday, August 18, 1 – 4 p.m. (screenings begin 1pm, 2pm and 3pm)
MAM members free, non-members $8 (general museum admission)

This hypnotic documentary explores the complex city of Lagos through the observations of award-winning architect and urban theorist Rem Koolhaas and the residents themselves. The film will be screened three times, to different audio: 1-2pm commentary by Rem Koolhaas; 2 – 3 p.m. commentaries by residents of Lagos; 3 – 4 p.m. sounds of the city. Details at 305.375.4073 or

Miami Art Museum
101 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33130

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