Talk Christine Mehring and Yilmaz Dziewior about the work of Haegue Yang

Mehring Dziewior

Join Christine Mehring, curator of David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and professor at the University of Chicago, and Dr. Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, for a talk on the work of Haegue Yang on Sunday 20 August 2023 at 11 am.

In the context of the exhibition Several Reenactments, Christine Mehring will trace Haegue Yang’s artistic strategies to relativise the Western canon. Focusing on the notion of “quasi”, Mehring will discuss the artist’s engagement with the history of abstraction, representation, and conceptual art through her use of distinct domestic materials such as venetian blinds, commercial house paint, and spices. The talk grows out of Yang’s installation Sol LeWitt Upside Down onto Wall – Modular Structure, Expanded 20 Times, commissioned for the exhibition Monochrome Multitudes (September 22, 2022–January 8, 2023) as part of the Smart Museum of Art’s ongoing Threshold series, co-curated by Mehring with Orianna Cacchione. The artist’s first large-scale installation in Chicago dislodges venetian blinds from their typical function as window coverings to create a monumental white grid suspended in front of a “quasi-Yves Klein Blue” wall in the museum’s soaring lobby, as well as a series of spice prints, titled Cinnamon Sheets Composition. Mehring will elaborate on Yang’s blind works that punctuate her oeuvre while playing with density, lightness, opacity, and transparency.

Yilmaz Dziewior will trace genealogies and threads on Warrior Believer Lover – Version Sonic, a reenactment of Yang's previous installation at Kunsthaus Bregenz, realized at the time upon the invitation of Dziewior. At S.M.A.K. as well as at Kunsthaus Bregenz Yang created a panoramic sculptural field of archetypes’ portrayals. Echoing Yang’s desire to honour these uncompromising qualities, all of which are underpinned by a profound sense of dedication, the new sculptures are tributes to figures who strictly adhere to their own values. The piece is accompanied by Igor Stravinsky's ballet music, Le Sacre du Printemps, which references Slavic pagan spring sacrifices and the avant-garde.

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Christine Mehring is Mary L. Block Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago and Associate Faculty in its Department of Visual Arts. Her research focuses on abstraction, particularly the ways in which non-mimetic forms, colours, and non-traditional materials come to signify within historical contexts; postwar European art, especially the impact of World War II and transatlantic relations; the crossovers between art and design, including interior and furniture design, wall-painting, and public art; and photography and the relations between old and new media. Together with architectural historian Sean Keller, she is working on a book about the art and architecture of the Munich Olympics. Her exhibition Monochrome Multitudes, co-curated with Orianna Cacchione and featuring two works, including a new commission by Haegue Yang, was on view at the David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago in fall 2022. In 2020 she curated the University’s commission of alumna Jenny Holzer’s first augmented reality app, YOU BE MY ALLY. Recent essays focus on the art of Ted Stamm in the first monograph of the artist published by Hatje Cantz, on Walter De Maria in a monograph published by Rizzoli and Gagosian Gallery; on the Panza Collection Initiative for Artforum; and on Donald Judd’s art and design for MoMA’s retrospective.

Dr. Yilmaz Dziewior, (born in 1964 in Bonn, Germany), has been director of the Museum Ludwig in Cologne since 1 February 2015. From 2009 to 2015 he was director of the Kunsthaus Bregenz (KUB), a leading exhibition venue for contemporary art in Europe. As commissioner, Dziewior curated the Austrian pavilion for the 2015 Venice Biennale. Before working in Bregenz, he was director of the Kunstverein in Hamburg for eight years, during which time he also taught as professor of art theory at the local academy of fine arts. He was curator of the German pavilion for the 2022 Venice Biennale.

Dziewior’s history with the Museum Ludwig goes back to 1996 when he worked in a freelance position till 1999. In 1997 he curated a project there with Sarah Lucas, and in 1999 he was responsible for the contemporary part of the exhibition Art Worlds in Dialogue: From Gauguin to the Global Present.

Dziewior has also been a regular contributor to Artforum (New York), Camera Austria (Graz), and Texte zur Kunst (Berlin). He has edited more than fifty books, including exhibition catalogues, on twentieth- and twenty-first-century art and has also contributed essays to catalogues published by the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg), the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (Düsseldorf), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles).

Dziewior’s work is characterised by a focus on social issues, including identity politics and cultural attributions, and he has a strong interest in art from the African continent (Bodys Isek Kingelez, Marthine Tayou), Latin America and the Caribbean (Diango Hernandez, Gabriel Orozco, Minerva Cuevas), and Asia (Haegue Yang, Danh Vō, Ai Weiwei), having curated major solo exhibitions on several of these artists.

His approach to curating is interdisciplinary and collaborative, as is evident in the exhibitions and projects that he has undertaken in his career. Architecture (Arno Brandlhuber, raumlabor Berlin, Kuehn Malvezzi, Eckhard Schulz-Fielitz) as well as theatre and dance (René Pollesch, She She Pop, Yvonne Rainer) also play an important role in his work. An analysis of the context at hand forms the foundation of his curatorial practice, which is reflected in the approaches taken by his experimental platform at the KUB Arena in Bregenz as well as in the Insert series of exhibitions and events at the Kunstverein in Hamburg.

Over the past twenty years, Dziewior has collaborated on major solo exhibitions with Yael Bartana, Cosima von Bonin, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Andrea Fraser, Wade Guyton, Barbara Kruger, Paul McCarthy, and Ed Ruscha, among others. Group exhibitions curated by Dziewior include Formalismus: Moderne Kunst, heute (Formalism: Modern Art, Today), This Place Is My Place: Begehrte Orte (Desired Spaces), Wessen Geschichte (Whose History), So machen wir es: Techniken und Ästhetik der Aneignung (That’s the Way We Do It: Techniques and Aesthetics of Appropriation), Liebe ist kälter als das Kapital (Love Is Colder Than Capital), and Wir nennen es Ludwig (We Call It Ludwig).

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