Tightrope Walking and Its Wordless Shadow
September 7 – November 4, 2018
La Triennale di Milano, Milan, Italy

Installation view of Furla Series #02 – Haegue Yang: Tightrope Walking and Its Wordless Shadow, La Triennale di Milano, 2018
Photo: Gianluca Di Ioia, courtesy of Fondazione Furla and La Triennale di Milano

 

Press release

Tightrope Walking and Its Wordless Shadow, which marks Yang’s first solo show in Italy, will explore the vast array of media employed by this artist, ranging from paper collage, video essays, and performative sculptures to large-scale installations. Yang’s spectrum of allusions and visions flows freely between social inquiry and history, personal life and collective memory, yielding images and experiences of enormous evocative power, in which objects, people, and places are inextricably linked.

Tightrope Walking and Its Wordless Shadow unfolds through three rooms where landmark works are combined with ambitious new commissions to highlight recurring themes in the artist’s career: abstraction and geometry, movement and performativity, and the relationship between folding and unfolding. Yang explores all of these as interwoven entities in a selection of pieces, that represent key stages in her oeuvre since 2000, including most recent. It points to her deep engagement with the unspoken: the urge to create a language as subtle and delicate as a tightrope walk, where movement becomes powerfully dynamic and charged with both emotional and perceptual tension.

The introductory room presents two installations: the thread installation 134.9 m3 (2000-2018) and chalk drawing 81 m2 (2002-2018), both regarded as seminal series. These subtle and sensitive installations usher us into the show. Locked within the space marked off by their lines, which are tilted at an angle of exactly one degree, is the text work Science of Communication #1 – A Study on How to Make Myself Understood (2000) on an A3 format sheet of paper, addressing the artist’s early concerns with language and translation in the sphere of cultural and social integration. In contrast to the first room, the large-scale installation Cittadella (2011) is an intense presence that spectacularly transforms the main space. Made up of 176 venetian blinds, Cittadella creates a multisensory environment of intricate modular structures, which is penetrated by physically walking into it, and by the hypnotizing movement of six robotic lights.

Passing through this fanciful underworld of habitational structures, we encounter another large open space that feels like a ballroom, with large, mural-like pieces covering three walls. The series Trustworthies (2010-2018) is a substantial cycle of work, in which Yang combines different graphic materials, patterned envelopes, her own custom-printed graph paper, Grid Bloc (2000-2018), and reflective vinyls. Two newly commissioned performative sculptures, from her Dress Vehicles series (2011- 2018), will “dance off” the space.

In Yang’s ongoing process of experimentation, chance encounters with an object or material are prone to generate unexpected forms, emotions, and narratives, mapping out an ambivalent space that is both accessible and inaccessible, in which the rejection of entrenched ideas always opens up new perspectives.

 

Exhibited works

Chalk Drawing, ongoing since 2002

Thread Installation, ongoing since 2000

Science of Communication – A Study on How to Make Myself Understood, 2000

Cittadella, 2011

Doubles and Halves – Events with Nameless Neighbors, 2009

Trustworthies, 2010-present

Dress Vehicles, since 2011

 

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