Kukje Gallery is very pleased to announce its participation in the inaugural edition of Taipei Dangdai (台北 當代) at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from January 18 to 20, 2019. Officially announced in March 2018, Taipei Dangdai is overseen by Magnus Renfrew, the Founding Director of ART HK – Hong Kong International Art Fair (2007-2012) and Art Basel Hong Kong (2012-2014), and will be presented by UBS, the Swiss financial services company and Global Lead Partner of Art Basel. This partnership has led to tremendous enthusiasm even before the fair’s inauguration. To be held annually, Taipei Dangdai promises to be a world-class art event that will provide visitors the opportunity to engage in the dynamic cultural environment found not only in Taiwan but also across Asia. The fair’s first edition features a lineup of 90 galleries from Taipei and surrounding Asian countries, in addition to Europe and North America.
For the inaugural edition of Taipei Dangdai, Kukje Gallery will present a solo booth featuring the work of Haegue Yang, an artist internationally recognized for her conceptually challenging and formally dynamic practice. In the same spirit as Taipei Dangdai’s ambitious new fair, Kukje Gallery’s presentation will provide a rare opportunity for Taiwanese audiences to experience a major installation of Yang’s most recent works. The artist’s relationship with the city dates back to 2014 when Yang showcased a group of anthropomorphic light sculptures titled Female Natives (2010) and Medicine Men (2010) along with a backdrop of her wallpaper piece Field of Teleportation (2011, in collaboration with Manuel Raeder)—an installation that also included Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (1913)—for the 2014 Taipei Biennial curated by Nicolas Bourriaud. Kukje Gallery’s booth will resemble a full-fledged exhibition, featuring a compact yet comprehensive display of Yang’s diverse body of work, showcasing her use of a broad range of media including sculpture, collage, and sound.
Both exterior and interior walls of the booth will be totally covered by a wallpaper piece titled Incubation and Exhaustion (2018). Incubation and Exhaustion was created in collaboration with the Berlin-based graphic designer Manuel Raeder and is currently on view for the first time in the artist’s solo exhibition at La Panacée – MoCo in Montpellier, France (on view through January 13, 2019). This hybrid and panoramic environment, created by the artist’s use of wallpaper, was initially inspired by Yang’s investigation of Occitania’s (the historical and administrative region in southern France) local pagan culture and history, as well as their more recent success in high tech industries. The selection of motifs in the wallpaper, which reveals this layered context, consists of an eclectic array of elements varying from onions, garlic, and robotic medical devices, to graphically manipulated flames, clouds, and bells. Arranged in an exhilarating layout, these symbols of the past and present, technology and culture, natural and manmade, evoke time as being in constant flux, forsaking the myth of linear order and effectively creating a constellation defined by flexibility and eclecticism. Taking a cue from the wallpaper, Yang’s non-binary approach toward culture and the folkloric is further explored through discrete bodies of two-dimensional works and sculptures that hang on the walls or are freestanding. Against the backdrop of the wallpaper, the artist’s installation will juxtapose handcrafted sculptures that evoke folk vernaculars with modular constructions consisting of industrial materials—commonly referred to as the venetian blind works—along with paintings that utilize cheap lacquer and question the historical conventions of the medium.
Yang’s The Intermediates (ongoing since 2015), is a group of sculptures that incorporate plastic twine, evoking the myriad ways straw has been used historically for both utilitarian and ritual purposes. By recontextualizing straw as a contemporary material, the artist returns the viewer’s attention to a common medium that shares universal relevance in countless civilizations and communities that have existed throughout the course of human history. Newly produced for her solo presentation at Taipei Dangdai, Yang's five new Intermediates will feature a contrasting palette of black and white, resembling mysterious creatures that inhabit an unfamiliar spatial and temporal spectrum. Installed on the walls, Yang has placed new works from her existing series Lacquer Paintings (ongoing since 1994). These paintings consist of commonplace mesh produce bags that are dynamically arranged on chipboards and are then covered with a thick layer of lacquer, giving them an uncanny presence.
Also installed in Kukje Gallery’s booth will be some of Yang’s signature venetian blind works. These pieces are widely celebrated for their diverse range of sizes and formal variations. Of the blind works, the Sol LeWitt Upside Down (ongoing since 2015) series directly refers to the geometric structures of the conceptual artist and minimalist Sol LeWitt (1928-2007); Yang’s sculptural interpretation is hung “upside down” and expands or reduces LeWitt's original structure, while maintaining its minimalist heritage. The works will be installed alongside a group of suspended speakers in a corner of the booth and the entire space will be suffused with sound elements taken from broadcasts of the Inter-Korean Summit held on April 27, 2018, at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Widely covered in the media, Yang has paid particular attention to the unique conditions surrounding the private talk between the two Korean leaders on a footbridge without any press or accompanying delegation. All that the gathered world press could record from a distance was their own camera clicks, footsteps, and birds singing. The seemingly banal sounds captured in this environment, including approximately 12 different species of birds, act as a poignant composite of the enigmatic presence of political events and their impact on everyday life.
Along with her installation in the Kukje Gallery booth, Yang will also participate in a talk on January 19 (Sat) at 2pm, as part of the Ideas Program of the fair. Yang will be in conversation with Doryun Chong, the Deputy Director and Chief Curator of M+ Hong Kong, and will discuss her most recent works and ideas.