"Haegue Yang," Kaleidoscope, Issue 10
"The accounts of that night are rapturous, inconsistent, improbable, legendary. On May 29, 1913, Serge Diaghilev’s production of Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, choreographed and danced by Nijinsky for the Ballet Russe, premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Nearly all the Parisian beau monde was in attendance. According to some, the whistles and jeers erupted soon after the prelude began; detractors heckled and defenders applauded, and the musicians played on inaudibly while Nijinsky shouted counts to dancers deafened by the din. Insults flew, as did a few punches; Romola Nijinsky even claimed a duel was fought the next day at dawn.
That year, the ballet had a special purchase on the avant-garde: in Diaghilev’s productions, cultural foment was lived out on a spectacular scale, and no sensibility was spared. In fact, it was in the liner notes for another ballet—Jean Cocteau’s Parade (conceived, according to Cocteau, on a midnight carriage ride with Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Nijinsky the very evening of Le Sacre’s premiere)—that Guillaume Apollinaire first coined the term that would designate Paris’s next avant-garde: “surrealism.” Slightly less than a century later, an oblique homage toLe Sacre has taken the stage—or the floor—at the Kunsthaus Bregenz. Drawing from sources as multiform as medicine men and mineral formations, dollar stores and séances, land art and the aforementioned ballet, Haegue Yang’s most recent work, Warrior Believer Lover, is a glimpse into the contemporary surreal.
Warrior Believer Lover consists of thirty-three sculptures made of metal clothing racks festooned with a medley of domestic articles, handicrafts, and store-bought items. Yang assembles them gradually and intuitively, crocheting yarn around the stands, draping plastic plants, dangling wigs or stones, delicately inserting plastic hair rollers, and snaking strands of frosted light bulbs through the ensembles. The racks are positioned throughout the space, subtly congregating in subgroups organized around shared materials and rack-varieties, and titled by Yang accordingly: There are six Female Natives, six Medicine Men, and the trio ofTotem Robots, the Circular Flats and Square Splendors and Stone Dances, as well as a cast of stand-alones, with names like Dilemma Circus, Thriftie Ghostie, andStiff Sponge BellyDance."...
Haegue Yang, Female Native – Saturation out of season, 2010
Courtesy of Kukje Gallery, Seoul
Photography by Nick Ash