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Haegue Yang, Residency June to September 2015

Born in Seoul in 1971, Haegue Yang lives and works in Berlin.

Haegue Yang’s work imposes itself by its singularity and complexity of composition that associates delicacy and force.

The artist uses everyday objects that she then redirects to create surprising installations: clothes line dryers are transformed into cloth draped sculpture, Venetian blinds that create mysterious spaces, envelope folds that become geometric collages.

If the objects she uses are familiar and easily identifiable by the viewer, sometimes the installation and the association of the multiple objects are not evident. The choices made by the artist can seem ambiguous. She does not want her work to leave the viewer indifferent and invites an anthropomorphic aspect to her sculpture. The fact that one can identify their composing elements can inspire empathy or sympathy.

For Haegue Yang, there is much mystery and spirituality in the banal things of everyday life that she manages to make appear though industrial objects while pairing them in a poetic approach of geometrical composition rendering articulate the common and making it extraordinary.

At the Atelier Calder, Haegue Yang made two sculptures that belong to a new series, Sculptures Meubles, (Moving Sculptures) made from the roots of a yew tree to which are applied other objects like tools, glass spheres or stones.

With these two sculptures, Haegue Yang is making reference to several traditional practices very present in Asia: the culture of bonsai and suiseki. This last is the practice of collecting stones that have shapes that recall, animals, human forms or landscapes. They are usually placed in the home, next to bonsai, and so acquire supernatural powers capable of protection from evil spirits. In this way, common natural elements become extraordinary and rise to another plane.

It is these traditions that inspired Haegue Yang her two works at the Atelier Calder, entitled Seat of Grandeur at Villeperdue (exterior) and Adventure at Villeperdue (interior). Figures from everyday poetry, the roots now show their hidden and potential forms.

These two works employ ancestral practices, the roots are used with precision and control showing a singular beauty by their colours and complex interwoven pattern.

These yew tree roots are monumental, disproportionate in relation to the size of bonsai or the collected stone of the art of suiseki. As is often the case with Haegue Yang’s work, it is often reference laden but the interpretation made by the artist gives a very different meaning.

Haegue Yang’s sculpture Seat of Grandeur at Villeperdue was exhibited at the Jardin des Plantes during the FIAC (International Contemporary Art Festival) in it’s “outside the walls” program. The exhibition was extended to December of 2015 in relation with the COP21 United Nations climate change conference in Paris.

Haegue Yang represented Korea at the Venice Biennale in 2009. She has had a number of solo exhibitions: at the New Museum of New York in 2010; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Aspen Art Museum; the Modern Art Museum of Oxford; and at Arnolfini of Bristol in 2011. In 2012 she participated in the Documenta (2013) in Kassel. That year she made a monumental installation at the Haus der Kunst of Munich for the annual exhibit.

In France, Yang had a solo exhibition Equivoques at the Musée d’Art Contemporain of Strasbourg and at the Aubette 1928 in 2013. She is represented by the Galerie Chantal Crousel.


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