Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Art report / Hamburg 3

A couple more posts and I will have told you everything about the art I found on my Baltic vacation.  Let's return to the Hamburger Kunsthalle for a collection of works by Haegue Yang, a South Korean artist who is on an artificial straw kick.  She has made three almost-life-size figures out of the straw plus other trimmings. 

At first glance I shuddered -- what on earth was this strange thing, half fat waddly robot and half explosion in a drapery showroom? 

The Intermediate -- Fan Dance around a Pagoda (detail below)

It wasn't until I saw the other two sculptures that I started to feel better; at least this artist was sticking to her theme and exploring its possibilities at some length. 

The Intermediate -- Pungmul Ball (detail below)

The Intermediate -- Hairy All Over

The third sculpture, the plainest one, was my favorite; I thought the unadorned artificial straw worked best without the distractions of other plastic doodads.  I wish the artist had given more of a hint as to what these pieces are supposed to be about.  Online statements about her work comment that her concerns include "migration, postcolonial diasporas, enforced exile and social mobility" but I can't deduce which ones are in play with this series. 

I would also like to have seen more of these figures; I know from google images that she has made many of these pieces and I think seeing a whole gaggle of them together would be impressive.  You would probably see them as people and focus more on their sheer numbers, wondering who they are and what they are doing here, than on the silliness of the craft materials.  But then again, maybe these "people" are part of a postcolonial diaspora, and they're spread out all over the world, only a few in Hamburg.


  1. I already see them as people. Even though the first one also reminds me of a teapot. I do think artificial straw would be maddening to work with, almost as bad as real straw. I would want to use yarn.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. I rather like Fan Dance around the Pagoda. Maybe the title contributes to my feeling. I can imagine myself, round and spinning, looking slightly off balance and disheveled.