‘Wild Against Gravity’, Haegue Yang
HZJ: So another side of this kind movement or travel is fragmentation, or at least feeling fragmented and disjointed. That brings me back to the wallpaper and how it transports your work into an active, imaginative field where you play with time and space, and where you’re also re-using your works in alternative forms.
HY: I think the interesting thing about the wallpaper is the scale. We recognized some of the installation shots as works embedded in a certain environment, but in the wallpaper they are not quite the right size. So on the one hand you have a feeling that you can almost walk in, but at the same time, it’s too small. Some of the things are exactly the opposite—blown up and very grainy. And some of the things are cut out so that the use of Photoshop is evident, where there’s no shadow, no smoothness between the layers and objects. But the depicted scenery in the wallpaper is something blunt, less tamed and even wild, where the transitions are not thoroughly negotiated. So in this field you have different timelines, different orientations in terms of space and environment, and different categories of objects. Not all of them are art objects. They’re all flying or drifting around in a kind of flow without any gravity, and without any explanation of why and how.
ES: This approach is paralleled in the design of this publication—the different levels of focus applied to the imagery, the layering of image onto image and text onto image, and the playful sense of distortion and disorientation that these unconventional methods create. Could you elaborate on your and Manuel’s treatment of the book, and how it relates to past publications?
HY: After I worked on my catalogue oeuvre last year, I felt an urgency to make a more artistic book. There was on the one hand a perfect partner to work on the book, Manuel Raeder, and on the other, there were motives and materials that were appropriate to treat unconventionally. I am aware that this publication has the twin tasks of documenting two exhibitions and at the same time revealing more raw thinking prior to the actual production. Things are layered and juxtaposed heavily and that’s exactly the wildness in its most complex form that I was searching for. On top of this, there is an escalating tempo in the structure of the book, page by page, with an articulation of chaptering but without an effort of ordering. It’s an aesthetic and formal manifestation of the book that documentational images are constantly interrupted: other images jump in front. Ironically this interruption becomes another rule in the book, creating a tension that we almost anticipate. I believe that there is something humorous and courageous about how image, documentation and motives interchange their conventional roles and turn chaotic hierarchy into a new order. I have to say that working with Manuel this time was a true inspiration; I felt able to unfold something so directly and clearly and it’s an amazing feeling to be accommodated by a designer. Our shared experiences of working on several previous books helped us to be so wild, floating freely between different materials.
Extract from the book 'Haegue Yang Wild Agains Gravity', 'A Conversation with Haegue Yang', Emily Smith, Michael Stanley, and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson.