Hyundai Artlab

Haegue Yang: O2 & H2O

MMCA
2020
MMCA Hyundai Motor Series
Sonic Domesticus, 2020
Sonic Domesticus, 2020
Installation view at MMCA Seoul. Photo: Hong Cheolki, Image provided by MMCA

MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2020: Haegue Yang - O2 & H2O

September 29 2020 – February 28 2021, MMCA Seoul

About the Exhibition

For MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2020: Haegue Yang - O2 & H2O, air and water, elements essential to life, were perceived through the lens of O2 and H2O, chemical symbols of human invention. The title reflects the artist’s persistent interest in tracing sensorial experiences with the abstract language of art. O2 & H2O posed questions to contemplate in the world of scientific facts, the perceptual world including experiences and senses that venture beyond such facts, and the phenomenal world that is gradually pushed to the brink with the climate crisis and disasters. Yang took the knowledge, conventions and phenomena formed in various sociocultural spheres and articulated them in “fantastic” visual language to transcendental space and time, resulting in creating groups of sculptures, such as Sonic Domesticus and The Intermediates, which use bells and artificial weaving materials. Her sculpture-beings inhabiting somewhere between living organisms and machines, or inanimate objects and human evoke the grotesque and familiarity of folklore. The ten-meter-high blind sculpture Silo of Silence ‒ Clicked Core revealed the artist's recent tendency in utilizing the “oblique” materiality of the blinds. Two works of Sol LeWitt Upside Down, in which the cube-shaped original works of Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) are “scaled down three times” and “enlarged twenty-one times” to form two large cubes made of blinds, were displayed in Gallery 5. In Five Doing Un-Doing, the digital collage on banners, and the wallpaper piece, DMZ Un-Do, all the overwhelming phenomena that we encounter in reality ‒ substance and symbols, energy and technology, climate and social polarization, disasters and national borders ‒ were silently collapsed onto each other. An artificial intelligence voice generated by cloning Yangʼs voice in collaboration with Neosapience, a voice cloning start-up, Genuine Cloning inquired into values such as identity, authenticity, and uniqueness. The exhibition was a hybrid as our reality.

Haegue Yang (born in Seoul, Korea, in 1971) is known for her eloquent and seductive sculptural language of visual abstraction that reference her personal readings of historical figures and her long-standing interests in issues of migration, notions of folklore and domesticity. Her diverse body of work spans a wide range of media, from wallpaper works and paper collage to performative sculpture and large-scale installations. Yang has exhibited in major international exhibitions including the 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019), 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018), La Biennale de Montréal (2016), the 12th Sharjah Biennial (2015), the 9th Taipei Biennial (2014), dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel (2012), and the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) as the South Korean representative. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at Tate St Ives (2020), Kukje Gallery, Seoul (2019), The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach (2019), South London Gallery (2019), Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, and the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane (2018). In 2018, she became the first-ever Asian female artist to receive the prestigious Wolfgang Hahn Prize. She is currently a professor of Fine Art at her alma mater, the Städelschule in Frankfurt.