10 February 2021

Haegue Yang: Strange Attractors. Installation view, Tate St Ives, 2020. Courtesy of the artist. Photo © Tate (Matt Greenwood)

Hello everyone.

I send you this message to you from Seoul. I came back to Seoul couple of months ago. Even if it is cold, there’s a crisp, bright sun shining every day. As you can imagine, the city is much quieter than normal, but still, this is a megacity so it continues to bustle.

My relationship to Delfina began in back in 2004 when I was in-residence for a year at the predecessor of Delfina Foundation, Delfina Studios, in Bermondsey, London. It was a long time ago now, but my memory of that time is still quite vivid. I was very young and inexperienced and London was so new to me. It was actually quite a difficult period for me both economically and artistically – it was a confusing moment, but also one full of impressions. A work emerged out of that residency, Storage Piece (2004), and many people count that piece as a landmark in my practice; a turning point.

Haegue Yang, Storage Piece, 2004. Installation view of Kasse, Shop, Kino und Weiteres, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, Germany, 2004. Courtesy Haubrok Collection, Dusseldorf / Berlin. Photo: Wolfgang Fuhrmannek

This piece is a pile of my works packed up and stacked on a wooden palette. I simply gathered together all my works which I didn’t have a place to store at that time and used the exhibition as an opportunity for storage! Since then, this piece has been exhibited all over the world, representing the ecology of artworks and the life behind the art career.

I mention this as I believe this piece has a particular resonance again, at this moment, as we are now together experiencing another difficult time, in which many people are experiencing financial difficulties, as well as artistic ones. But I do believe that we could make an opportunity out of our current difficulties and perhaps even make a significant turning point ourselves, just like Storage Piece was for me.

Installation view featuring Storage Piece, 2004, by Haegue Yang. Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea, 28 June – 20 September 2009 LACMA, Los Angeles, USA. Courtesy Haubrok Collection, Berlin. Photo © 2009 Museum Associates/LACMA. Photographer Yosi A. R-Pozeilov.

Last year I joined Delfina Foundation’s Strategic Advisory Panel. I wanted to contribute to be able to contribute to Delfina as an organisation which nurtures artists and art practitioners from around the world, just like I was nurtured by my residency, as the outcome Storage Piece attests.

I currently have a solo exhibition in the UK, my largest to date, at Tate St. Ives, and I am pleased to share with you some images from it. It is a big show, which took a long time to prepare for, but unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I have not been able to visit it yet. Instead, I share some images of the works with you and hope you may be able to see it for yourselves when it reopens and we are able to travel freely again.

The exhibition is titled Strange Attractors and will be up until the 3 May 2021. It brings together new as well as existing works, all of which gather around the topic of uncertainty, strange attractors (the unexpected structures towards which chaotic systems tend to evolve), the changes in our climate, tough nature, and all of these environmental conditions, as well as the conflict between culture and nature.

Thinking about this exhibition now, I remember my visit to Cornwall ahead of the show: the foggy landscape, the humidity, wind, ocean, and sunsets, as well as all the research I made in material history, figures, modality, etc.

The past year has been a wonderful one, despite all the difficulties, and we are still in the middle of these uncertainty. My hope is that we can stick together and make something great out of this uncertainty and not only be filled by fear. We should feel the vitality to be in the middle of the uncertainty and I wish to share with you all the courage, vulnerability, as well as solidarity.

Haegue Yang


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