Assymmetric Equality
June 28 – August 31, 2008

Installation view of Assymmetric Equality, REDCAT, Los Angeles, 2008
Photo: Scott Groller


Asymmetric Equality

Haegue Yang’s practice is rooted in the permeable relationships between the past and the present in an attempt to broadly locate or conceptualize ideas of community, home and subjectivity. Through abstraction, Yang’s work occupies a position that inhabits both a present-ness and plurality, while resisting dogmatic formations of subjectivity—a process the artist describes as a “de-territorialization of one’s own understanding.” Her interest in abstraction is not rooted in Western modernist notions of objectivity or neutrality but rather stems from its boundless capacity to elicit emotional, sensorial and cognitive responses that are necessarily subjective. Somewhere between presence and memory lies the potential and potency for a narrative or subjective whole.

Working with non-traditional materials such as customized venetian blinds and sensory devices including lights, infrared heaters, scent emitters, and fans, Yang constructs complex and nuanced installations that collapse the space between the concrete and the fleeting. Yang’s recent works explore the real and metaphorical relationships between her material surroundings and emotional responses, attempting to give form and or meaning to experiences that exist beyond conventional order. She explores the possibility of accessing experiences through her own perceived or constructed relationship to social and political determinants or historical precedent. To this end, her recent work has gravitated toward her thinking about historical figures, including the French novelist and filmmaker Marguerite Duras, whose work explored conditions of colonialism and reflected her commitment to the Résistence as well as
the underground Korean revolutionary Kim San and the American journalist Nym Wales, whose encounters with Kim under life-threatening circumstances led to the publication of his biography.

For her first solo exhibition in the U.S., the artist presents a newly commissioned, site-specific installation at REDCAT entitled Asymmetric Equality. The work continues the artist’s exploration of narrativity throughabstraction and contemplates the possibility of arriving at some notion of universal equality through physical and sensorial displacement. As Doryun Chong observes in his catalogue text, Yang is interested in “a kind of ‘potentiality’ which requires an exterior to help what is already there, a kind of ‘dehors’ (‘outside’ in French) that provides one with a reason to continue to live the most horrible reality by accepting and empathizing with it. This sort of stance vis-à-vis reality could constitute or exemplify…a kind of subjectivity—an agent of suspicion, indignation, and recognition that can see that injustices are necessarily part of reality. In this sense, her practice grows out of a responsibility she bears as an artist and social being and is an articulation of freedom and autonomy achieved through criticality.

This exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual (English and German), 206-page, 4-color catalogue published in collaboration with Sala Rekalde in Bilbao, Spain. The publication includes an introduction by REDCAT acting gallery director and curator Clara Kim, text by German philosopher Marcus Steinweg, an essay by New Museum director and curator of education and public programs Eungie Joo and a dictionary/lexicon by Walker Art Center assistant curator Doryun Chong. The book is designed by Gail Swanlund, Katie Hanburger and Jon Sueda of stripe and will be available in July.

Press release, REDCAT, 2008

Exhibited works

Yearning Melancholy Red, 2008

Hippie Dippie Oxnard, 2008