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Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful
2015.10.30 - 2016.1.3
Central Gallery and Nave
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“I saw a strange optimism and generosity in the title, an encouragement to overcome a seeming lack of commonality and to embrace growing diversity in our time and place.” —Haegue Yang

From 30 October 2015 to 3 January 2016, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is pleased to host the first solo exhibition in China of Haegue Yang. “Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful” includes the artist’s major works from 1994 to the present with newly commissioned sculptural installations. Through the Lobby, Nave, and Central Gallery, viewers navigate the plurality of Yang’s unique visual language, a landscape of material hybridity—spices, Venetian blinds, clothing racks, synthetic straw, Choco Pies, bells, graph paper—torn, lacquered, woven, lit, and hung. Here, Yang attempts to stage diverse narratives of nameless subjectivities in a syncretic mode of abstraction and figuration that does not seek a balance between the two.

In reference to an idiom found in the poem “Drinking on the Lake when it Shines after the Rains” by the Northern Song dynasty scholar Su Shi, the exhibition’s title suggests high spirits in spite of dramatic shifts in the environment, the embrace of diversity in our world. It also alludes to the artist’s preoccupation with sensorial experience, which triggers associative sentiments beyond the verbal and conceptual. Lacquer Paintings such as Rainy Dirty (2012) or Rainy Chili (2011) display impressions of seasonal and environmental conditions acquired in the production process: lacquer is poured onto wooden panels in multiple layers then set against the elements outdoors. Exposed to rain, wind, and other disturbances, their surfaces become dotted and dusty, recording the specific season and place of their creation. Similarly, Spice Moons (2013), eight framed panels of spice prints, line the opposite wall of the Nave, carrying the scent of Singapore’s diversity and colonial history into the exhibition space. Through visual and titular references, the two series suggest a connection between celestial bodies, the moon and stars, and human perception.

Hanging from the rafters of the Nave, Sol LeWitt Upside Down – K123456, Expanded 1078 Times, Doubled and Mirrored (2015) consists of twin volumetric shapes, tropes of LeWitt’s K123456 (1997) expanded and mirrored with Venetian blinds. Becoming opaque or transparent according to the natural light of the space or standpoint of the viewer, the piece approaches the original not as parody but as a compositionally liberated expression of respect. Totem Robots (2010), a sculptural installation in three parts titled Sidewise, Askew, and Forward, also share the Nave, their ‘arms’ and ‘heads’ draped with electric cables, light bulbs, and other ephemera emptied of function.

These accumulated anthropomorphic features can also be found in the new sculptural group The Intermediates (2015) and the wallpaper series Eclectic Totemic (2013)—completed with London-based designer duo OK-RM (Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath)—situated in the Central Gallery. Titled “The Sun and the Moon: The Golden Crow and the Jade Hare,” the floor is drawn according to a spiral pattern found in Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadisches Ballett (1922), the straw figures of The Intermediates, adorned with a Korean bridal headpiece, vintage Indian cowbells, and artificial succulent plants among other things, ‘dance’ in a whimsical ritual allowing an experiential shift in their assumed objectivity.

The Central Gallery is entirely wrapped and rendered by wall décor with the paper collage series Trustworthies (2010-) on vinyl arrangements. Video Trilogy (Unfolding Places, Restrained Courage, and Squandering Negative Spaces, 2004-2006) is embedded within the Trustworthies, featuring an intimate voice-over monologue unfolding episodes of observations on homelessness and displacement collected during lonesome journeys. The narrator’s voice flows over sequences of urban scenery interrupted by occasions of origami, masked figures, or paper windmills.

In the Lobby, viewers are welcomed by Virtuous Edibles – Affection and Benevolence (2015), two towers—each weighing approximately 500 kg, altogether a ton—constructed from Choco Pie packages with the characters of 情 [affection] and 仁 [benevolence] delineating the product markets of Korea and China, respectively. Monumental in scale, the work posits a contrast between the intimate, familiar taste of the snack with its ever-changing commercial image, while highlighting the notion of virtue attained through the application of an otherwise trivial commodity.

An extensive exhibition catalogue, “Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful” explores the affective power of industrial materials, revealing a spiritual threshold in the ordinary.

Within the internalized movements of Yang’s diverse practice, several iterations of alternative temporality are attempted: the appropriation of Sol Lewitt’s progression in geometric shapes (Sol LeWitt Upside Down – K123456, Expanded 1078 Times, Doubled and Mirrored), astronomical phenomenon reflected in shifts of human perception (Lacquer Paintings, Spice Moons), and the syncretism of tradition with the economic undercurrents of sweetness in a popular Korean snack (Virtuous Edibles – Affection and Benevolence). Each signifies movement in spite of static form, citing instances outside the insomnia of their inscribed utilitarian time.

李明

Download “Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful” press release.

 

About the Exhibition

“Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful” is the final installment of UCCA’s Secret Timezones Trilogy, a suite of consecutive solo exhibitions by contemporary Asian artists whose works reveal dislocated temporalities lying dormant behind mundane objects. The trilogy is curated by UCCA consulting curator Venus Lau, this exhibition with assistant curator Felicia Chen, and sponsored by SEDANT·ZIQUE.

Barco is the video equipment sponsor, and production support comes from ORION.

Published with support from Post Wave Publishing Consulting and designed by United Design Labs, Beijing, the exhibition catalogue, Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful, includes a selection of nine previously published essays and conversations translated into Chinese as well as a curatorial essay by Venus Lau and a dialogue between Haegue Yang and Liu Wei.

 

About the Artist

Haegue Yang (b. 1971, Seoul) has lived and worked between her native city, Seoul, and Europe, since 1994. Through abstract and complex visual languages embodied in installations, light sculptures, straw sculptures, graphics, paper collages, wallpaper, and video essays, Yang translates her subjective reflections of specific narratives, engaging various modes of materiality from industrially manufactured goods to handicraft techniques. Yang represented South Korea at the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) and exhibited at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel (2012). Her recent solo exhibitions took place at Haus der Kunst München (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art, Strasbourg (2013), Bergen Kunsthall (2013), and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2015).

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Haegue Yang
  • Hovering Lion Dance – Trustworthy #240
  • 2015
  • Vinyl film, various envelope security patterns, graph paper, origami paper, framed
  • 19 pieces, 630 x 1460 cm
Works in the Exhibition
 / 4 1
    • Haegue Yang
    • Sol LeWitt Upside Down – K123456, Expanded 1078 Times, Doubled and Mirrored
    • 2015
    • Aluminum Venetian blinds, aluminum hanging structure, powder coating, steel wire
    • 840 x 562.5 x 1052.5 cm
    • Courtesy the artist.
    • Haegue Yang
    • Spice Moons
    • 2013
    • Screen prints, sandpaper, spices, herbs*, framed Produced at Singapore Tyler Print Institute – Creative Workshop & Gallery, Singapore
    • 8 pieces, 166 x 115.5 x 4.5 cm each
    • Courtesy the artist.
    • * Ingredients used: ginger powder, chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala, ganthoda powder, coriander powder, mustard powder, cardamom powder, white chili powder, clove powder, black pepper powder, white pepper powder, turmeric powder, star anise powder, cinnamon powder, nigella powder, root of tuber fleece flower, rhubarb, licorice root powder, myrrh
    • Haegue Yang
    • Totem Robot – Sidewise
    • 2010
    • Clothing rack, casters, light bulbs, cable, grill grid, paint grid, sink strainer, metal rings, metal chain, spectacle frame, fringe, knitting yarn, hairpieces, hair roller, bells, pine cone, seashells, tea strainer
    • 188 x 107 x 102 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • Totem Robot – Askew
    • 2010
    • Clothing rack, casters, light bulbs, cable, cord, metal hangers, plastic funnels, elastic net, bells, fishing float, aluminum reflector, darklight louver, metal rings, metal chain, paper clips, rubber toy animal, hair roller, hairpieces
    • 190 x 130 x 75 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • Fishing
    • 1995
    • Wooden panel, wood varnish, thread, fish hook
    • 40 x 32 cm
    • Courtesy the artist.
    • Haegue Yang
    • The Intermediate – Chinese Bride
    • 2015
    • Artificial straw, steel stand, powder coating, casters, Indian bells, gourds, jute twine, tri-color band
    • 190 x 125 x 130 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • The Intermediate – Basket Totem on Triple Leg
    • 2015
    • Artificial straw, steel stand, powder coating, casters, Indian bells, artificial plants, plastic twine, cord, metal rings, metal bells
    • 230 x 105 x 95 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • The Intermediate – Triple Sphere on Pyramid Totem
    • 2015
    • Artificial straw, steel stand, powder coating, casters, Indian bells, artificial plants, plastic twine, cord, metal rings, metal bells
    • 280 x 120 x 120 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • The Intermediate – Sea Lotus
    • 2015
    • Artificial straw, steel stand, powder coating, casters, root carving, cotton twine, jute twine, cord, artificial seaweed, barnacles, abalone shells, sea shells, conch shells, metal basket, palm tree basket, coconut basket, gourds, wood perches, bird toys, trumpet, rubber object object
    • 215 x 110 x 110 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • Sonic Full Moon – Medium Ultralight #14
    • 2015
    • Steel frame, metal grid, powder coating, brass plated bells, metal rings, steel wire
    • 172 x 53 x 53 cm
    • Courtesy the artist.
    • Haegue Yang
    • Hovering Lion Dance – Trustworthy #240
    • 2015
    • Vinyl film, various envelope security patterns, graph paper, origami paper
    • 19 pieces, 630 x 1460 cm
    • Haegue Yang
    • Eclectic Totemic
    • 2013
    • In collaboration with OK-RM (Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath), London
    • Digital color print
    • Size variable
    • Courtesy the artists.
    • Haegue Yang
    • Unfolding Places
    • 2004
    • Single channel DV-PAL, color, sound, 18:15, filmed in London and Seoul, Voice-over: Helen Cho (English)
    • Haegue Yang
    • Restrained Courage
    • 2004
    • Single channel DV-PAL, color, sound, 19:07, filmed in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Seoul, Berlin, Voice-over: Camille Hesketh (English)
    • Haegue Yang
    • Squandering Negative Spaces
    • 2006
    • Single channel DV-PAL, color, sound, 27:57, filmed in Brazil, Voice-over: David Michael DiGregorio (English)
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Installation Views
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Videos
  • Unfolding Places (trailer)
    3'24''
  • Restrained Courage (trailer)
    3'01''
  • Squandering Negative Spaces (trailer)
    3'19''
  • 2'46''