Haein Kang


The Critic Riview

A Loop of Circulation

For Haein Kang, "My work half consists of thoughts. And mainly, it results from thoughts derived from experience and situations." She wants to work freely without restriction from genre or methodology, for she is wary of settling into a fixed position and falling into mannerism. Her wish is to gain freedom from the media. Paradoxically, she addresses many mediums to discover the proper medium for her work, from new genres to media engineering, proving her determination to be free. In other words, for her, a medium is a means to concretize and efficiently convey ideas. What's significant is to work tirelessly and try not to be confined to the media, or the medium, and thus not be restricted by any idea.

With this belief, Hang forms work through a process of floating thought, drawing, putting thoughts into arrangement, specifying the results, then communicating with technicians. This process she likens to the algorithm. An algorithm is a finite sequence, a procedure for solving a problem, or in a narrower sense, a step-by-step procedure for a computer engages to work at a problem. It is an amazing source of pleasure for Kang to combine physics, chemistry, and technology in an art installation. Technology is for her like magic, for solving something difficult through an art form. Kang's work is like a process for discovering and understanding mediums and their mechanisms.

For Haein Kang, the circulation of energy forms all the principles of the world. An enormous loop of circulation is shaped when natural phenomena relate and form connections, and then energy alters its form. Man also produces, and consumes energy, as part of nature. Even death cannot stop the energy, as life and death are in endless cycle. The meaning of existence is re-circulation through connection with other beings, Kang believes. Haein Kang's work is significant as it represents such circulating relations.

In Crystal Heart, Fall, and Home3 on display in the show, energy circulates, from the inside to the outside, or from the outside to the inside in contrasting three phenomena. In Crystal Heart and Fall, Kang circulates energy through water, the structural material of all life forms, to produce diverse meanings such as, repeating ascension and descent through liquid, solid, and gas. Crystal Heart is made through a combination of the breath and the heart, elements that enable man to maintain life among the modified forms of water, vapor, and crystals. Because whenever we breathe, we exhale one liter of vapor every day. Vapor floating through the air meets the heart, cooled to under minus 20 degrees, and turns to crystal, that covers the resurface of the heart.

Through biological research, Kang discovered she has 20 liters of body fluid. With Fall, water drops every five minutes onto a concave plate from a glass container filled with 20 liters of water. These drops fall ceaselessly, and vaporize naturally into steam for the 25 day duration of exhibition.

Home3 is the third, completed version of Kang's Home series. It is a house-shaped installation consisting of a looped rope, noctilucent paint, pulleys, a rope-pulling machine, and a box for storing the rope. It represents the enormous loop of circulation, symbolizing the cycle of destruction and renewal, nature, and the universe.

Kang considers art to be a cycle of energy. while making art, she boosts her energy to the full then radiates it out through a process of thinking and labor. The energy brings warmth to her work, like and explosive flame or wood fire, that transfers to the viewers of her work. Diverse energy circulation occurs when the viewer's ability adds to the artist's capability, to bring about infinite possibilities.

What is the feeling and the intensity of the energy Kang conveys? Her work appears serene but also impressive, with many messages. The artist hopes viewers will be inspired and touched by her work, as if they had read a precise, well-arranged poem. So, she wants to produce work to be read, by employing all the measures she knows.

By Na Young Jung, Curator of SOMA Museum of Art


Vaporize Sculpture Fluid

Haein Kang has constantly been concerned with immaterial situations and the constructed login of cycles. For Kang, the laws of the nature related to the cycle of energy. An enormous ring of circulation is created when individual natural phenomena form relations and energy continuously moves. A human being, as part of nature, produces and consumes energy. Energy does not dissipate even in a state of death, as life and death are in a constant cycle. The meaning of existence circulates in connection with other beings. Kang puts importance on perceiving and representing this cyclical relation, based on phenomena she experienced. In Crystal Heart and Fall , displayed in the show, diverse phenomena bring about the cycle of energy from the inside to the outside and vice versa. Water changes from up and down repetitively. The artist create vessels containing her understanding philosophical questions about life in an enormous wheel of time made up of countless moments. Feeling color, fragrance, taste, and sound the artist creates, enhances viewer understanding and imagination.

By Woo-im Kim, Curator of Seoul Museum of Art

October 2013 Last Updated.
© 2005 Haein Kang.