press release

At the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, Haegue Yang (born in Seoul in 1971) caused quite a stir with two simultaneous, yet separate presentations. As part of the international exhibition, “Fare Mondi” by Daniel Birnbaum, in the Arsenale, Yang showed seven sculptures constituting Series of Vulnerable Arrangements – Domestics of Community – an installation comprising clothing and shoe racks draped with opulent cascades of electric cables combined with various objects and light bulbs. Presented at the same time, in the Korean Pavilion in the Giardini, were three new installations under the exhibition title Condensation, including Voice and Wind, a large-scale installation consisting of Venetian blinds surrounded by eight scent emitters and six fans, which subtly set the slats of the blinds in motion at different intervals, lending the interior of the pavilion an atmosphere of sensorial abstraction. Under the title of Roll Cosies at the Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp, Yang now presents five cash register rolls, covered with neatly crocheted cosies. Everyday objects, mostly industrially fabricated items, often become a starting point for Yang to contemplate our immediate environment. However, the viewer’s subjective perception of it in a specific space plays an equally important role. Making a handmade cosy for such an ordinary consumer item is an unexpectedly affectionate gesture, like the tea cosies that grandmother used to make. At the same time, it is an obscure gesture: Are the Roll Cosies supposed to keep the figures warm that are yet to be burned on thermal paper? Would such figures refer simply to food supplies, or would they reflect her own artistic success? But the warmly clad rolls of paper are still unused, entirely virginal, in fact. Roll Cosies seems, instead, to deal with rather the pure, the unspoiled ‘skin’, which protects the immaculate und the innocent against the vagaries of modern everyday life – against marking, lettering, tattooing, against scratches and scrapes, against hard knocks and dents. The cosies keep the new new and the untouched untouched. Lovingly crocheted in wool, these Roll Cosies represent a protective enclosure of consumeristic products, which usually have a short and non-recyclable life, but which now maintain their unusual potentiality and become profoundly inefficient.