National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens



2005 - 2017

The work is displayed as part of the permanent exhibition


Site specific installation
6 Bottari made from traditional Korean bed covers and used clothes from Athens and Kassel.
Variable dimensions
This installation was donated by the Artist on the occasion of the inauguration of the EMST’s new museum building in 2017
Inv. No. 1098/17

Bottari is the traditional cloth bundle used in Korea to wrap household items, food or gifts for storage or transportation. Associated with femininity and a synonym for voluntary or involuntary travel and nomadic life, the bottari —a familiar object to the artist due to her background and the constant relocations of her family— entered Kimsooja’s practice in 1992, while she was in residence at the MoMA PS1. It constitutes a landmark in her artistic evolution, summing up her artistic quests and expressive practices and marking the firm shift of her creations into the third dimension. Since then, the bottari keeps recurring in different variations in her work. To make them, Kimsooja uses traditional Korean bed covers embroidered with symbols of fertility, long life, and happiness and stuffs them with used clothes which, as she notes, carry the traces of their former owners’ smell, memories, desires, spirit, and life. To the artist, bed covers symbolise the human body and the cycle of human life —birth, love, pain, death— since the bed is where people are born, dream, rest, suffer, and ultimately die.
Eleni Ganiti, ENTER EMST: Collection and history, A short guide, 2020

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