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To Breathe – AlUla


To Breathe – AlUla encapsulates Kimsooja’s contemplation of the original geographical forms and elements that shaped the region’s distinct desert and volcanic landscape. The core natural elements that took shape within this topography – from cracks in the volcanic stones and monumental sandstone mountains, to the delicate leaves of grass that, with the help of the wind, brush circular forms onto the soil – draw life through a phenomenon of contraction and expansion. As the artist explains, “it is nature’s breathing that transforms the earth’s surface across a deep arc of time.” The life cycle of the Earth in space and time has been Kimsooja’s inspiration and leaves a strong impact on her artistic vision.
The movement of wind and the path of light – which reflects, refracts, and traverses through the spiral paths of To Breathe – AlUla’s glass walls – echo the conceptual and geometrical formation of the desert landscape. Coated with a special film, the glass is a translucent canvas with a microstructure of thousands of vertical and horizontal grooves that function as prisms. Sunlight refracts through this surface into an iridescent color spectrum, casting rainbow-colored shadows and circular brushstrokes onto the sandy earth. Audiences partake in a contemplative performance by walking through and gazing at the shifting light spectrums that render visible the vibrations of colors normally invisible to the naked eyes. With Kimsooja’s words, “it is a walk in and out of a contained yet open spiral path that unfolds an abstract ‘lightscape’ – at once a drawing, a painting, and a sculpture.”