Burning Love is a powerful, shout out piece which grabs the attention in Young In Hong’s The Moon’s Trick, at the Exeter Phoenix, but it’s the contrast to the stranded, blazing images of one part of the exhibition, combined with the other, quieter, more mediative room that is the lasting strength of the exhibition.
Young takes for her inspiration photographs from Korea’s recent political and cultural history. ‘They include the frequent protest and demonstrations, which occurred during the post-war modernization period and were often taken at a time when freedom of speech was not guaranteed and censorship was commonplaces.’
There are strands of memory in each of Young’s embroidery, capturing the fleeting moments of shared experience in what is a stereotypically female craft – a nod to the industrialised labour of women’s work.
Also, ‘the artist aims to slow things down; each thread recording not only the time she has put into making the piece, but the response to her desire to capture something that historical documents of the period may have missed.’
To that end, the room which features Prayers and Looking Down From the Sky seem fleeting, but requires more of your time.
The dark lines captured on a white background of Prayers is a set of 15 framed works, and are accompanied by fragments of piano, played by the artist in response to their imagery as scores. So far so engaging. But with a bit more exploration the source photographs for the images reveals the beguiling sparsity of Prayers.
In two books also entitled Prayers you can see where Young uncovered her inspiration: crossroads, roof-tops, the intersection of streets or the bobbing heads of women at work in a factory.
The books were specially commissioned for this exhibition, and some might consider it cheating to glimpse at where the ideas for the images originated. For me it was a useful peak behind the curtain, a well-considered shove in the back which got me back into the gallery, and allowed a deeper consideration of the work.
Back in the gallery, you can explore the lines and consider the space in between – why those photos, why those lines? You start peering at them and the space they leave and the space between them and the original pictures, the space between here and there, then and now.
Looking Down from the Sky is five panels embroidered on silk, which also offer a musical score for a live improvised performance. Take your time to consider the pitch, beat and duration of the musical score. It starts forming questions about points of reference, and the need for definitions.
Perhaps that’s why Young’s ‘musical work is consciously translated into something that is not solely within her own control’. It’s not like our fates are solely within our control either.
According to the blurb, the title The Moon’s Trick ‘is taken from one of Soo-Young Kim’s (1921-1968) early poems’.
‘The poet was captivated by the vortex created by a spinning top. When watching it, he felt that it allowed him to exist in a different sphere of the world, almost taking him to a different level of perception.”
And with the right shove and a bit of time you too can start spinning in a different sphere. Pop along and give it a whirl.
The Moon’s Trick | Young in Hong | Exeter Phoenix runs to April 22, 2018 | 10.30am – 5pm
YOUNG IN HONG
ARTIST’S TALK & GALLERY TOUR
Saturday, March 24 | 2.30pm | free
Join South Korean artist Young In Hong as she discusses her current exhibition, The Moon’s Trick, and her wider practice.
The Moon’s Trick is a solo exhibition that encompasses drawing, textiles, sound installation and performance, to explore processes and ideas around authorship, translation and reinterpretation. The exhibition runs until Sun 22 Apr.
The exhibition was initiated by Spacex in partnership with Exeter Phoenix and forms part of the Korean Cultural Centre UK’s Korea/UK season 2017-18, a celebration of the relationship between the UK and Korea which sees cultural events, exhibitions and activities taking place in both countries throughout 2017/18.
OTHER ASSOCIATED EVENTS
Exhibition Closing Event and Performance
Sat 21 Apr | 3-5pm | free
Join the artist for a glass of wine at a special event to mark the end of the exhibition. The event will include a live ensemble performance of Young In Hong’s visual score Looking Down From The Sky (2017) with musicians from A Quiet Night In.
This event was rescheduled from the beginning of the exhibition due to severe weather conditions.
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