Young In Hong, A Fire That Never Dies,
embroidery, mixed media
14 January–20 February, 2016


The gallery is pleased to present the second solo show with Korean artist Young In Hong. In recent years, Hong has continued to develop a unique body of work by using Korean free-hand machine embroidery inspired by the forms and contexts of English tapestry. Based in London over the past years, her interest in modern Asian craftsmanship and its exploration through a Western context, has become one of her main concerns. A Fire That Never Dies brings together a new body of work that concentrate on lost moments, mostly where social unrest is at stake. Focusing on the recent history of Modern Korea and furthering her quest for capturing the immaterial, transitional nature of collective experience, Hong pinpoints politically and emotionally charged moments of political consciousness and rituals of celebration.

Employing a combination of different media ranging from photography to painting and embroidery, alongside insertions of garment making techniques, Hong’s series is charged with pathos and grievance. She forms associations between sewing and painting, not only through combining them in a singular frame, but also through provoking their labour intensive qualities. Each image is formed of threads that exceed the frame.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with a text by Fatos Üstek, an independent writer and curator based in London. She is currently Art Fund Curator at fig-2. Üstek was also associate curator for the 10th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2014, curated by Jessica Morgan, director of Dia Art Foundation.

Young In Hong (b 1972) is based in London and Seoul and holds a PhD in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College London. She had her first exhibition at Cecilia Hillström Gallery in the spring of 2013. Hong’s work has been shown in international venues such as ICA London (2015), Gwangju Biennale (2014), Plateau Museum, Seoul (2014), Museum of Art and Design, New York (2011), Saatchi Gallery (2010), and a special exhibition at Liverpool Biennale (2008). Furthermore, Hong has been exhibiting extensively in Europe and Asia and is represented in the collections at Nya Karolinska Hospital, Stockholm, Korean Eye, London, and Gyeonggi MOMA, Korea.

Young In Hong,
This is Not Graffiti, painting, embroidery
16 February – 24 March, 2013

Trained as a sculptor, Young In Hong sees her embroidered works rather like three-dimensional constructions than paintings. In the work A girl with a Slogan (2012), Hong unites the image of anonymous graffiti photographed on the street with the image of a young girl she found on the internet. The girl is holding up a sign saying “mi-chin-so anmeo- geol-lae (I am not going to eat a mad cow)” during one of the biggest anti-government protests in 2008. She rebels against the controversial Free Trade Agreement between South Korea and USA, in which South Korea agreed to import US beef possibly infected with mad cow disease. The act of sewing allows Hong to visualise and materialise her thought process and the synchronised body movement of the sewing illustrates the time-consuming process. Sewing has been a major industry in Korea, China and Taiwan, still dominated by female workers who are paid minimal wages. At the same time, sewing is an important aspect of modernity.

One of the crucial concerns of Hong’s art is her careful observation of certain aspects of society. In one of her early site-specific projects in Seoul, I will commit crime forever and a day (2004), her view of the difference between what is morally correct and what is legally permitted was expressed in a satirical way. She stole flowerpots from streets, cafes and parks and installed them in front of a police station. The installation seduced the passers-by and transformed the symbolism of the police station from an extension of cold authority to something appealing and welcoming.

Young In Hong’s interest in rearranging the hierarchical order of the world is visible in site-specific projects such as The Curtain (2001), The Pillar (2002), Open Theatre (2004) and The Performing City (2005). In the public art project Miners’ Orange (2009), around five hundred people wearing orange garments paraded without any slogan, theme or purpose in the small exmining town Gohan-Sabuk in South Korea. The government had recently established a casino business in this town, and the purpose of the parade was to question the impact this transition had on the villagers’ lives and how they looked upon themselves. In Miners’ Orange, Hong made the complexity of Gohan-Sabuk’s identity visible through an act of collective performance.

Young In Hong has participated in numerous exhibitions in Asia, Europe and the US. Her selected institutional and museum shows include Playtime (2012), Culture Station Seoul 284, Seoul, South Korea, City Rituals: Gestures (2012), Art Club 1563, Seoul, South Korea, Korean Eye: Energy and Matter (2011), MAD, New York, USA, Korean Eye: Fantastic Ordinary (2010), Saatchi Gallery, London, UK, Another Masterpiece, New Acquisitions (2008), Gyeonggi MOMA, Korea, Good Morning, Mr. Nam June Paik (2008), Korean Cultural Centre, London, UK, Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale (2007), Incheon Culture and Arts Centre, Korea, Particules Libres (2007), Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France.

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