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Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement review

Art South London Gallery , Camberwell Until Sunday May 26 2019
4 out of 5 stars
Haegue Yang: Tracing Movement review
Installation view of 'Haegue Yang: Tightrope Walking and Its Wordless Shadow', La Triennale di Milano, Italy, 2018 Photo: Masiar Pasquali. Image courtesy of Fondazione Furla and La Triennale di Milano

In April 2018, the media flocked to a historic meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea. Part-way through, the two men requested privacy. As they went to chat, the remaining journalists kept their recording equipment whirring. This is what it picked up: birdsong.

This alternative version of political tweeting is now chirruping out of speakers at the South London Gallery as part of Haegue Yang’s ‘Tracing Movement’. The show brings together several different wall-based or sculptural projects by Yang, who’s getting a major exhibition at Tate St Ives next year.

The works hanging up include the ‘Trustworthies’ series, collages of graph paper, envelopes, shiny foil and other bits and pieces. In their geometry and angular patterning, they’re not a million miles away from the Emma Kunz works currently on show at the Serpentine.

There’s also the ‘Carsick Drawings’, wiggly lines made in an attempt to draw while in a car, and the ‘Cutting Board Prints’, created from the juice of various veg and spices on sale in Singapore.

At the centre are two large sculptures made out of black metal, coloured venetian blinds and dangling strips of bells. At set times each day, ‘Sonic Dress Vehicle – Hulky Head’ and ‘Sonic Dress Vehicle – Bulky Bird’ are ‘activated’. Meaning two SLG assistants get inside them and push the wheeled creations around the space.

It’s a disparate collection of artworks but somehow it all makes sense when seen together, especially if you deliberately stop your brain from uselessly screeching: ‘But what does it all MEAN?!’ and instead just go with what it all looks like.

The ‘link’ between the artworks is the idea of pattern, the type of infinitely repeating pattern shown in nature documentaries when the camera zooms in on a flower to show how the structure of each daisy is as complex but regulated as an Escher staircase.

Because of this, it makes you tune into the beauty of repetition and predictability, and how it underpins things that simply look, or sound, pretty on the surface. A bit like that birdsong, really.

By: Rosemary Waugh

Venue name: South London Gallery
Address: 65 Peckham Rd
Opening hours: Tue, Thu-Sun 11am-6pm; Wed 11am-9pm. Last Fri of the month 11am-9pm
Transport: Tube: Oval; then 36 bus
Price: Free
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    • South London Gallery Free
    • South London Gallery Free
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