Haegue Yang’s kinetic sculptures


haegue yang

Sonic Rotating Geometry Type D –Copper and Nickel Plated #45 , 2015 Steel sheet, powder coating, ball bearings, metal grid, copper plated bells, nickel plated bells, metal rings 39 3/8 x 30 5/7 x 3 1/7 in. (100 x 78 x 8 cm.)

Traversing through a wide range of media, from collage to performance, Haegue Yang’s artworks often feature quotidian and domestic objects ranging from tea cozies to cans of Spam. The artist dissociates such materials from their original contexts, rearranging them into abstract compositions that build a visual vocabulary that’s mostly about the sensitiveness of hearing and touch.

In her Sonic Rotating Geometry series, the South Korean artist uses bells, a recognizable motif that recurs throughout Yang’s oeuvre. Mounted on the wall, the sculpture has a motion device that may be manually activated by the visitor. Once the sculpture is set in motion, the quadrangular, pentagonal and hexagonal shapes begin to appear circular by way of an optical illusion, accompanied by the rattling sound of bells. The geometric forms are comprised of hundreds of small metal bells that ring in unison when repositioned. Corresponding to the speed of rotation, the rhythm of the sound fills the surrounding space. Through the states of suspension and rotation, a visual effect of color occurs as the copper-plated bells and the nickel-plated bells are amalgamated. The resulting optical illusion and the blending of colors in Sonic Rotating Geometry Type D –Copper and Nickel Plated #45, opens the viewer’s perspective to new possibilities.

Motion has been a focus of Yang ‘s production over the past few years. In a deeper plunge into Yang’s work and her biographical references, she reveals a vast ocean of meaning underneath. Mobility is referred to here, not only in purely physical terms, but also means migration and exile.[1] A South Korean born in 1971, Haegue Yang received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Seoul’s National University in Korea and studied her masters at the Meisterschüler in Städelschule Frankfurt am Main, Germany.[2] Since she is currently based out of Berlin and Seoul, she often has to travel between the two cities, and is thus in constant mobility.

Another possible meaning in Yang’s Sonic Rotating Geometry series is the critique to conservative curatorship. By allowing the sculptures to move, Yang introduces instability and continuous change to an “immovable” and institutional setting. “With her mobile performative sculptures, Yang negates the static furnishings of the exhibition space with its fixed installations and carefully placed objects.”[3]

The critics and curators of Yang’s mobile artworks have also underlined her multifaceted artistic exploration. Light sculptures, straw installations, graphics, paper collages, wallpaper and video essays are just a few examples of the diverse materials and handicraft techniques used in her visual language. The transformation and the metamorphosis of both color and basic forms represent her constant exploration of mediums when creating an artwork.[4]

Photograph taken during Kurimanzutto’s Exhibition in Miami Basel 2015.

Yang has represented South Korea at the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009 and exhibited at the 13th edition of dOCUMENTA in 2012. Among the public collections holding work by Haegue Yang are: The Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and most recently the Adrastus Collection.[5]

[1] Sekkingstad, Steinar. “Haegue Yang; Journal Of Echomimetic Motions.” E-flux. Bergen Kunsthall Gallery, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/haegue-yang-6/>.

[2] “CV.” Haegue Yang. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://heikejung.de/cv.html>.

[3] “Haegue Yang: Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful.” E-Flux. Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), 30 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/haegue-yang-come-shower-or-shine-it-is-equally-blissful/>.

[4] Sekkingstad, Steinar. “Haegue Yang; Journal Of Echomimetic Motions.” E-flux. Bergen Kunsthall Gallery, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.e-flux.com/announcements/haegue-yang-6/>.

[5] “CV.” Haegue Yang. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://heikejung.de/cv.html>.