Teacher of Dance
June 10 - September 4, 2011
Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK

Installation view of Teacher of Dance, Modern Art Oxford, 2011
Photo: Stuart Whipps, Edmund Blok


Press release

Modern Art Oxford presents Teacher of Dance, the first major UK exhibition of the Seoul- and Berlin-based artist Haegue Yang.
Yang has developed a distinctive practice of colourful and sensorial installations and sculptures that seek to occupy the dissolving
spaces where public and private meet and contend with one another. Through her work, Yang discloses narratives, individual portraits
and her own sentiments, reflecting the balance of research and intuitive enquiry that underlies her practice. She predominantly uses
materials drawn from the domestic realm, yet employs an abstract language to free the work from any narratives that had influenced
its formation.

The exhibition, whose title references the spiritualist thinker and teacher G. I. Gurdjieff, is guided by an interest in movement and
the role it plays in the formation and experience of Yang’s work. It includes not only major past works but also newly conceived
pieces. Commissioned to produce a new work for the Piper Gallery, Yang has created a Venetian blind installation – a form she has
rigorously pursued for the past six years – that for the first time escapes eye level, representing a departure from what has been a
defining characteristic of these installations. The work is formed of two distinct parts that visitors can move underneath and within:
the first conceptually transforms the artist’s relationship to the venetian blind, from a semi-transparent material that is looked through,
to an object that is to be looked at; the second, referencing the stereometric costumes of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadisches Ballett (1922),
comprises floor-based structures that can be entered into and moved around.

The breadth of Yang’s practice is revealed through work in a variety of media from the past decade of her practice, with individual
works often forming a constituent part of a family of objects. Occupying the Upper Gallery is a group of vibrantly coloured and highly
textured sculptures entitled Non-Indépliables, (Non-Unfoldables), 2006/2009-11. These works, drying racks wrapped in fabric and
knitted material, deftly transform a functional and intrinsically foldable household item into a strongly figurative yet perpetually fixed
sculpture. The series Light House (ongoing since 2008), consists of intricately folded cardboard sculptures fashioned out of light bulb
boxes, revealing the interiors of these former houses for bulbs. The series Manteuffelstraße 112 (2010-2011), is a group of wall-mounted
metal sculptures containing lights and colourful Venetian blinds, which replicate in size and shape the boiler and every radiator in Yang’s
former flat in Berlin. A new series of Can Cosies (ongoing since 2010), wholesale sized food cans clothed in knitted covers, focusses
on the contrast between familiarity and alienation in our food culture.

To coincide with the exhibition, Modern Art Oxford will produce a fully illustrated catalogue in collaboration with the Aspen Art Museum, 
focusing on Yang's exhibitions at the two institutions and contains two major essays by Professor Julian Stallabrass, Reader at the Courtauld
Institute, and Professor Anne Wagner, The Henry Moore Foundation Research Curator at Tate. The catalogue also contains a text by Heidi
Zuckerman Jacobson, Director and Chief Curator, Aspen Art Museum, an interview with Haegue Yang by Emily Smith, Curator, Modern
Art Oxford, and a biographical text by Katharina Schwerendt and it is developed in a close collaboration between the designer Manuel
Raeder and Haegue Yang.


Exhibited works

Foyer Gallery

Manteuffelstraße 112 – Single and Solid, 2011

Gymnastics of the Foldables, 2006

Light Houses, 2011

Can Cosies, 2010/2011

Plate Mobile, 2010

Middle Gallery

Doubles and Halves - Events with Nameless Neighbors, 2009

John Piper Gallery

Escaping Transparency, 2011

Upper Gallery

Semi-Dépliables, 2011

Dress Vehicles, 2011

Non-Indépliables, 2006/2009-2010

Upper Gallery Wall 

Imperfections, 2010