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Sebastian Brandl Shows Heejung Kang's Puzzling Relations of Objects and Forms
Heejung Kang, "Familiy", 2009. Mixed media. Different dimensions.

By: Harald Uhr

COLOGNE.- Heejung Kang (*1979, Jejudo/South Korea) creates puzzling relations of objects and forms, which remain in a state of suspense: they oscillate between the representation of a subjective and a multi-faceted reality on the one hand and an artistically poetic abstraction on the other hand. A suspense factor is aroused, unsettling and disturbing, raising more questions than providing answers. In her first solo exhibition "Kang" focuses on the family - an intimate theme that almost everybody can relate to, as relationships are the main issue.

In her work holding warmth the artist walls up the windows of the gallery with self-made, semi-transparent blocks consisting of polyurethane foam. Kang creates a homelike but eerie atmosphere. In the gallery space a suggestive, rampant ensemble of sculptures primarily made of fragile materials and found objects is set up. It focuses on the intellectual examination and interrogation of the meaning of family, identity, strangeness and memory in the context of a cultural discourse. Instead of clearly shaped results Kang shows the way of image production with its flaws, detours and excess. While shaping and forming she moves between personal daily routine and the art world in order to trace the interdependency of private sphere and the general.
The ensemble does not develop linearly but in complex and cross-linked episodes, it grows into time and space and therefore does not follow any clear chronology. Kang considers the world, human relationships (thereby somehow declaring a spiritual kinship with the art of Anna Oppermann) as “ensembles”, as changeable constellations of perception and reflexion, of rules, stories, emotions and theories. At first sight one sees enigmatic formations of an unclear structure. Only after a second glance one recognizes - or one rather suspects - a complex system of relations inherent in the images on different levels. Hence the form of the ensembles is open and ambivalent but still organized in a particular classification and reference system.

Her processional working method, the reproduction, the installing and reinstalling bring about that the complexity of her works is no definite, finally accomplished state but one that is constantly changing. Limitation and delimitation, the bounds of inner and outer world are the subject, the necessarity of a demarcation, the delimitation of traditional signs and symbols.

A fragile 'me', in a spidery writing attached to the floor tries to assert oneself or rather to “hold one's ground” in between the interwoven family network and to find a place, a resort for oneself. In return the word 'alcohol' – similarly cut out in a rudimentary manner and mounted between two wooden boards refers to the delimiting possibilities of this 'me'. Everything, even dealing with language, is primarily raw material for the exploration of form as transformation of physical and intellectual existence. Therefore the artistical experience of the environment is characterized by the inclusion of action. Art alters and transforms and is thereby comprehended as doing, acting and working. In this respect the part of the hand as well as the use of physical energy is not to be underestimated. By incorporating various drawings into a space-specific installation context they can be comprehended as an honest call to communication and personal exchange without any cynical distance. With her upvaluation of being Kang promotes an intensified visual perception of the world in order to push forward the limits of a conditional human nature and to amplify the space of human freedom.

With her visual strategy - aware of errors and unpredictable events - the artist refers to the working method of human consciousness, its constant unsteadiness and drifting in between constriction and amelioration, its murmuring of texts and subtexts. Yet the improvisational installations of Heejung Kang are organic and animated sculptures that recount all possible forms of life itself. Lived time, memories of distant and nearby places as well as incidental moments find its way into this pulsating spatial structure. It is stands by in order to provide an osmotic exchange for those who are willing to engage in the enthralling adventure of “self”-exploration and it reveals its mysteries to anybody who brings in his phantasy in return. The artist is not primarily interested in final settings. Hence her works remind the beholder of construction sites rather than temporary architectures. Kang creates readable places, places which point out relations and which debate energies and utopias. Heejung Kang developed a translation of these places and spaces in transition. With her installations referring concretely to the particular exhibition space the artist succeeds in revealing a different, second reality behind the allegedly familiar reality one is used to. By occupying space with poetic-creative sculptural arrangements Heejung Kang approaches the essentially relevant space, the space of relations and resonance between human beings, for which the family might function as primal scenery.

Sebastian Brandl | Heejung Kang | Objects and Forms |

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