Haegue Yang -Sensory Experience
The thing I immediately notice upon walking into Yearning Melancholy Red was the set up of heat lamps across from a fan. This invited me to stand in the middle and experience the sensory effect of simultaneously being hot and cool. The color of the, changing from red to blue, created a mental change in my temperature while the physical remained somewhere between the two. As I continued to walk into the room, I found myself dead-ended by mirrors and blinds, a sort of labyrinth. It is interesting to me how the artist made the decision to pair mirrors, a solid wall of reflection with blinds, an adjustable "wall" designed to either allow light in or block it out. Yet the blinds in this room were always open the same amount. By making such decisions, Yang creates a state of feeling lost in time, direction, temperature and somewhere between intensity and calmness.
What then surprised me was the moment of audio, yet not being able to see it. Hearing drums play and watching the previous constant and entrancing motion of the lights suddenly pick up movement was like an escape from being stuck within a trance. Then, making my way over to the drums and realizing I, or for that matter anyone, could partake in the installation was quite empowering. Another surprise to me was the social interactions which took place within the space. Because of the work's participatory nature, other viewers came up to me to discuss what they were seeing when I played the drums and asking what I saw out of the piece and so on. Thus I got a sense of community engagement.
And so curator Doryun Chong aptly writes, "Yang's practice translates the landscape of her own emotional and intellectual life into a 'democratic' space of experience, a space generously open to viewers by way of sensory perceptions that almost anyone can experience."
If I could as Yang three questions I would ask her first to articulate her choice of material. I would also ask if there was a specific time/space/memory that led her to creating the space that she did. Lastly I would be curious as to how the actual space of the gallery affected her decision making.
I would describe this show to a friend as an experience rather than something you go to see.