Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant
February 12 – May 10, 2015
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul
Installation view of Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea, 2015
© Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art
Video: Studio Haegue Yang
Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Haegue Yang: Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant from Feb 12 to May 10, 2015. Haegue Yang (born in 1971, Seoul, South Korea) began to draw the attention of the art world in the mid-2000s with her inquiry on the notion of singularity and community, employing unique materials woven into an abstract language. Yang’s complex and multi-faceted exhibitions have been staged at numerous major international contemporary art institutions and she has received critical acclaim for works presented at distinguished exhibitions that include the Venice Biennale 2009 and Documenta (13) 2012 in Kassel. Through simultaneously conceptual and sensorial works in which materials such as everyday objects and industrial materials agonize and form into an ambivalent yet revelatory and liberating realms of politics, history, and culture, her highly inspirational practice is at the forefront of contemporary art.
Haegue Yang: Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Korea in five years. As the title suggests, George Orwell’s essay Shooting an Elephant triggered the main metaphor of her show, while Romain Gary’s novel The Roots of Heaven fleshed out the real and imaginary dimensions of the metaphor. The elephant appears as an invisible medium, extremely vulnerable like endangered nature, but also powerful as our human imagination and aspiration.
Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant brings together Yang’s major works over the past decade with newly commissioned ambitious projects. Entering the exhibition, Sol LeWitt Upside Down – Structure with Three Towers, Expanded 23 Times (2015) is a new Venetian blind piece that strongly references Sol LeWitt’s work from 1986, marking a turning point in her signature work. Following the wearable metal-plated bell sculptures, Sonicwears (2013/2015) at the Mezzanine, one finally encounters the focal series of sculptures, The Intermediates (2015) in the Ground Gallery. These architectural and anthropomorphic synthetic straw-crafted sculptures address the particularity (folk) and universality (civilizational) of cultures, blurring the boundaries between established traditional concepts and hybrid, even alien, and unfamiliar migratory strands. Also on display are a variety of works, ranging from various work phases presenting the extreme diversities of her oeuvres, such as Seoul Guts (2010), Trustworthy (since 2010), and VIP’s Union (2001/2015), which explore issues of hospitality, alterity as well as empathy and collective spirituality. In the Black Box, the large-scale Venetian blind work Cittadella (2011) together with the performative sonic sculptural installation Boxing Ballet (2013/2015) create rather parallel worlds of non-gravitational and hypnotizing architectural, metallic and robotic figuration of the avant-garde.
Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant is an ambitious and generous presentation, providing an opportunity to appreciate an extensive number of Yang’s major works to witness her ever changing materiality and language as well as non-conformist attitude driven by an overwhelmingly diverse and expansive facet of intellectual endeavors.
Leeum will publish a bilingual catalogue, designed by Jinyeol Jung, including essays by Nicolas Bourriaud, Sungwon Kim as well as exhibition curator, Hyunsun Tae.