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Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’ Ocula Conversation Bani Abidi: ‘What you see in my films is what I know’

A group of voices accompanies me in the exhibition. They are singing words I cannot comprehend, yet the warm tunes are familiar: folk songs, love songs, songs of longing. There are letters, too. They speak of the quotidian details of a soldier's life: the hardness of the war, sending money to the family, and longing for familiar landscapes, food,...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Haegue Yang

b. 1971, South Korea

Haegue Yang is an artist known for her subtle use of mundane objects within sensory installations. Yang graduated with a BFA from Seoul National University, then attended Städelschule Frankfurt am Main, Germany, receiving an MFA in 1999. Today, she lives and works in Seoul and Berlin.

Yang’s work often incorporates ordinary items such as lightbulbs, clothing racks, industrial fans and blinds. Of these objects, venetian blinds have become a key part of her most recognised works. Yang first used venetian blinds in 2006 to capture her now longstanding interest in kinetic sculpture. Suspended from the ceiling or arranged in a structure, the blinds usually invite the viewer to navigate through them. Inside the installation, the viewer becomes aware of the play between light and shadow while fans create further motion, heightening the smell and humidity in the air. Objects quotidian in nature mediate the senses, prompting the onlooker to reimagine not only the objects’ function but also the space they create.

An international artist who has spent most of her adulthood outside her homeland, Yang shows particular interests in migration and diaspora, drawing inspiration from various cultures for her work. Instead of considering one culture at a time, however, she makes multiple cultural references in one work. The way she shapes her work resembles the manner of migration; it is as though the sculpture travels and serves as a medium in which elements of different cultures converge. While these elements do not contradict each other, they are disparate—as unlike each other as a Native American medicine man figure and Igor Stravinsky’s ballet and orchestral work The Rite of Spring (1993). Yang merges differences into one entity—a hybrid that transcends time and place.

A common feature many of Yang’s works share is their iterations. Some are part of a single collection, such as Medicine Men (2010) and her ‘Sonic’ sculpture series (2013–ongoing). Others like Storage Piece (2004) and The Malady of Death (2008–ongoing) are reborn throughout the years. With The Malady of Death in particular, Yang demonstrates her versatility by venturing into the realm of performance and conducting a stage reading. Inspired by Marguerite Duras’ 1982 novella of the same name, the reading is as much a new experience for the viewer as it is for the artist herself. Each performance features a different reader and stage, and each iteration holds a different revelation about the novella.

On her philosophy as an artist, Yang explained in her 2014 conversation with Ocula Magazine that art should be an experience, though not necessarily understood. Hence, abstraction is the primary language in her works. However, this does not mean she deliberately creates enigmas. In fact, Yang seeks to invoke in her audience an experience of senses—feelings that may not be understood in words. She calls the process ‘empowerment’: first drawing the viewer into her work—be it an installation of venetian blinds or a collection of sculptures—then granting to the viewer autonomy to freely navigate and realise the space’s full potential.

Before Yang came to prominence internationally, she received recognition as the recipient of the 2005 Cremer Prize and the Baloise Prize in 2007. Her breakthrough was in 2009 when she represented South Korea at the 53rd Venice Biennale, where she was also the first female artist to represent the country. Since then, her works have been exhibited internationally, including dOCUMENTA 13 (2012), the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010) and the 9th Taipei Biennial (2014). Yang has also been shown in solo and group exhibitions at institutions such as Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012–13) and Bergen Kunsthall (2013).

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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Sonic Gym Brass-Dripping Odyssey by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangSonic Gym Brass-Dripping Odyssey, 2019 Powder-coated stainless steel frame, powder-coated mesh, powder-coated handles, steel wire rope, black brass and brass plated bells, metal rings
120 x 77 x 77 cm
Kukje Gallery
The Intermediate – Ikebana Alienage by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangThe Intermediate – Ikebana Alienage, 2016 Artificial straw, powder-coated steel stand, powder-coated metal grid, casters, artificial plants, artificial vegetables, artificial stones
90 x 135 x 90 cm
Galerie Chantal Crousel
Sol LeWitt Upside Down – Open Geometric Structure 2-2, 1-1, Expanded 22 Times, Mirrored by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangSol LeWitt Upside Down – Open Geometric Structure 2-2, 1-1, Expanded 22 Times, Mirrored, 2017 Aluminum venetian blinds, powder-coated aluminum hanging structure, steel wire rope, LED tubes, cable
215 x 353 x 213 cm
Kukje Gallery
Sonic Gym Map by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangSonic Gym Map, 2019 Powder-coated stainless steel frame, powder-coated mesh, powder-coated handles, steel wire rope, black brass and nickel plated bells, metal rings
122 x 70 x 70 cm
Kukje Gallery
Edibles - Cold Storage, Fresh Pick, Lime Leaf, 50g by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangEdibles - Cold Storage, Fresh Pick, Lime Leaf, 50g, 2019 Vegetable pressed on paper, framed
57.5 x 57.5 x 4 cm (incl frame)
STPI
The Intermediate—Adorned Frosty by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangThe Intermediate—Adorned Frosty, 2018 Powder-coated stainless steel frame, powder-coated metal grid, plastic twine

Not For Sale
Para Site
Edibles - Cold Storage, Fresh Pick, Curry
Leaves, 50g by Haegue Yang contemporary artwork
Haegue YangEdibles - Cold Storage, Fresh Pick, Curry Leaves, 50g, 2019 Vegetable pressed on paper, framedgsm paper
57.5 x 57.5 x 4 cm (incl frame)
STPI

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Haegue Yang, When The Year 2000 Comes at Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Open Now
3 September–17 November 2019 Haegue Yang When The Year 2000 Comes Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Show, An Opera for Animals at Para Site, Hong Kong
Closed
22 June–25 August 2019 Group Show An Opera for Animals Para Site, Hong Kong

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

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Liverpool Biennial 2018: How to Make a Beautiful World Ocula Report Liverpool Biennial 2018: How to Make a Beautiful World 23 Aug 2018 : Eleanor Wiseman for Ocula

The Liverpool Biennial, which opened 14 July and runs to 28 October, is celebrating its tenth edition with a question. The show's title, Beautiful world, where are you?, comes from Friedrich Schiller's poetic work invoking the Greek gods, Die Götter Griechenlands, or The Gods of Greece. Written in 1788, Schiller's text was set to music by Franz...

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City Report: Berlin Ocula Report City Report: Berlin 7 November 2017

Berlin-based Ocula contributor Rachael Vance selects her top five institutional shows currently on display in Germany's capital.KW Institute for Contemporary Art Willem de Rooij, Whiteout 14 September–17 December 2017 Eric Bell & Kristoffer Frick, Compound 13 September–17 December 2017Known for his films, photography, sound-recordings and...

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Haegue Yang Ocula Conversation Haegue Yang Artist, South Korea

For Haegue Yang, 2015 was a rather hectic year. Along with participating in major art events, such as the Biennale de Lyon, the Sharjah Biennial and the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Yang has also put together four solo shows around the world; including two extensive institutional exhibitions in Asia at the Ullens Center for...

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Aaron Seeto Ocula Conversation Aaron Seeto Curatorial Manager of Asian and Pacific Art, QAGOMA

This month the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) in Brisbane, Australia, plays host to the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8). Renowned as a platform for surveying the vast geographic expanse of Asian and Pacific contemporary art, the triennial continues to uphold a long-term commitment to the region....

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In Related Press

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Haegue Yang embarks on a surreal multi-sensory space odyssey in Seoul Related Press Haegue Yang embarks on a surreal multi-sensory space odyssey in Seoul Wallpaper* : 12 September 2019

They say art is abstract. But wait until they see the works of Haegue Yang. Even this broad term doesn't fully encapsulate the creations of the Korean artist, who is taking abstractionism to a whole new level.

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Yang Hae-gue brings world of transformations, juxtapositions to Seoul Related Press Yang Hae-gue brings world of transformations, juxtapositions to Seoul The Korea Herald : 2 September 2019

Yang Hae-gue has turned a gallery space into a place full of ill-matched images. Colors on the walls both dazzle and confuse visitors. Sitting in the middle are sonic and mobile sculptures. Scented gym balls roll between movable versions of her signature venetian-blind sculptures. And shallow layers of artificial fog from the corners fill the...

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Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement Related Press Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement The Brooklyn Rail : 20 May 2019

One difference between a diagram and a tracing is their relationship to abstraction. To diagram is to anticipate the production of something new, and a diagram's information can be read selectively. To trace is to attempt to capture the totality of a formation as something absent. Haegue Yang's exhibition Tracing Movement is marked by a tension...

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Tate Will Give Five Women Major Solo Exhibitions in the Next Two Years Related Press Tate Will Give Five Women Major Solo Exhibitions in the Next Two Years Hyperallergic : 4 March 2019

Tate has revealed that five large-scale solo exhibitions for women artists are currently in development, all of which will open during the 2020–2021 season. The announcement comes perfectly-timed for the beginning of Women's History Month and the launched of the #5WomenArtists campaign by Washington DC's National Museum of Women in the Arts.

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