In the last few years, Haegue Yang (born 1971, based in Seoul and Berlin) has worked with non-traditional materials such as customized venetian blinds and electrical devices including lights, infrared heaters, and fans, to create a series of carefully orchestrated and nuanced installations that operate as microcosms of sensory experiences. The centerpiece of the artist’s first U.S. solo museum exhibition, Integrity of the Insider
, is Yearning Melancholy Red
(2008), an installation constructed from custom-made white and faux-wood blinds suspended from the ceiling and arranged in interconnecting crystalline forms surround Plexiglas mirrors, infrared heat lamps, fans, with circling theater lights are connected to a drum kit, which viewers are invited to play.
Co-produced by the Walker and REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater), Los Angeles, where it premiered in the artist’s solo exhibition Asymmetric Equality
in June 2008, Yearning Melancholy Red
reflects the artist’s ongoing engagement with certain historical figures of interest, in this case, the late French writer and filmmaker, Marguerite Duras. While Yang’s own bond with the storied, legendary personage is the reservoir from which the work of art stems, the installation itself makes no specific references to concrete names, events, or realities, instead imparting to viewers the most abstract qualities—namely, geometry, light, and sound.
The exhibition also includes selections of smaller-scale works from 2000–2007 that formally and intellectually inform and dialogue with Yearning Melancholy Red
. Several works explore “non-folding,” an important concept which contemplates how processes of un-making—in the forms of literally unfolding, flattening, spray-painting, and time-lapse or serial photography—can become acts of making. Other works are instigated by Yang’s existence in more than one society and culture, and the desire to belong to, or counter, the tradition of avant-garde she both identifies with and feels distance from.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Yang will spend three weeks at the Walker to conduct an experimental project where she aims to “domesticize the institution” by taking up residence as an apprentice in the museum. Provocatively exploring her concept of the antagonistic relationship between artist/artwork and institution, Yang has mobilized the Walker to bring together a group of “expert” participants in a skill-share and knowledge exchange. Titled Shared Discovery of What We Have and Already Know
, Yang will engage participants as both teachers and learners in a series of discussions and workshops that will investigate the role of research in her practice as well as critical notions in her work, such as abstraction, community, and subjectivity. A resulting series of multidisciplinary public programs will be presented in February 2010 to coincide with the end of the exhibition.
Haegue Yang has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including the Korean Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009; Cubitt Gallery in London, Portikus, Frankfurt, the 55th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, and sala rekalde in Bilbao.
Haegue Yang: Integrity of the Insider
is curated by Doryun Chong, Associate Curator, Department of Painting and Sculpture, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and former Walker visual arts curator.
Yang’s residency Sharing What We Already Know and Have
was conceived by the artist in collaboration with Doryun Chong and is organized by Andria Hickey, Curatorial Fellow, in Visual Arts, with Sarah Peters, Associate Director, Public and Interpretive Programs, Walker Art Center.
Haegue Yang: Integrity of the Insider
is organized by the Walker Art Center. The exhibition is made possible by generous support from Linda and Lawrence Perlman. Haegue Yang’s artist residency is made possible by the Nimoy Foundation.
Yearning Melancholy Red
is co-produced by REDCAT, Los Angeles, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
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