2 march until 21 July 2024

Kimsooja - Thread Roots

Museum De Lakenhal is proud to present the exhibition Kimsooja – Thread Roots from 2 March to 21 July 2024. It is the Korean artist's first solo presentation in the Netherlands. Kimsooja is considered one of the world's leading artists. Her work is strongly rooted in Korean traditions and takes shape in very different media. In her art, Kimsooja combines personal history with global themes such as migration, mobility and the feeling of being somewhere at home.

film introduction to the exhibition

In the short, eponymous film Kimsooja - Thread Roots, Kimsooja tells more about her work, the exhibition and her connection to Leiden. You will also hear director Tanja Elstgeest and curator of contemporary art Nicole Roepers talk about the special relationship between Kimsooja's work and the collection of Museum De Lakenhal. The film was made by Gilles Coudert and can be viewed at the Achterplaats.

Photo: Joep jacobs

Textiles and migration

Textiles play a recurring role in her installations, performances, sculptures, films and photographs. For example, her famous multicolored bottaris, knotted bundles of Korean bedspreads carrying personal belongings, refer to the relationship between textiles and migration. These two themes also recur frequently in the collection of Museum De Lakenhal.

Photo: Joep jacobs

Dialogue with the collection

In the exhibition Thread Roots Kimsooja examines her cultural history within her development as an artist and in relation to the museum's collection. Besides the presentation of several installations in the exhibition rooms, there are interventions in spaces where the textile history of Leiden is told. For this, Kimsooja also created new work in which Korean samples, patterns and sample books form the starting point for a dialogue with the Leiden textile collection pieces.

connection with leiden

Since 1874, Museum De Lakenhal has been housed in the Laecken-Halle, a monumental, seventeenth-century inspection hall for woollen fabrics. Modern-day Leiden has its roots in this textile industry. Kimsooja's work, which connects textile crafts, cultural history and painting, enters into a dialogue with the history of the museum and the city. In 2022, the artist was commissioned by the Lucas van Leyden Fund to realise the temporary artwork To Breathe - Leiden, located right in front of Museum De Lakenhal. In this work, too, the artist refers to Leiden as a textile city, and the arches – which reflect in the water – function as a needle and thread that connect the city and its inhabitants.

KIMSOOJA, TO BREATHE - LEIDEN, 2022 Photo: Jonathan Floréz Brand

About Kimsooja

Born in 1957 in South Korea, Kimsooja lives in Paris and Seoul. Her work has previously been shown in numerous venues and museums around the world, including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. She represented Korea at the Venice Biennale (2013) and the São Paulo Biennale (1998), and participated in Kassel Documenta (2017) and many other international biennials and triennials. Her work has received several awards. In 2019, she was awarded the Lucas Art Award from Leiden's Lucas van Leyden Fund.

Photo: Bram Vreugdenhil


The exhibition is accompanied by a publication in which you can learn all about Kimsooja and her exhibition at Museum De Lakenhal. With contributions by Nicole Roepers, Kitty Zijlmans, Amanda Pinatih, Keumhwa Kim, Roel Arkesteijn and Colin Huizing, among others. Design was in the hands of Anton Spruit.

The book is written in Dutch and English and for sale at the museum shop for €20.00.

This exhibition and the accompanying public program are made possible in part by the Mondriaan Fund, the Korea Foundation, the Fund for Cultural Participation and the City of Leiden.