Haegue Yang, Wild Against Gravity
ES: This approach is paralleled in the design of this publication — the different levels of focus applied to the imagery, the layering of image onto image and text onto image, and the playful sense of distortion and disorientation that these unconventional methods create. Could you elaborate on your and Manuel’s treatment of the book, and how it relates to past publications?
HY: After I worked on my catalogue oeuvre last year, I felt an urgency to make a more artistic book. There was on the one hand a perfect partner to work on the book, Manuel Raeder, and on the other, there were motives and materials that were appropriate to treat unconventionally. I am aware that this publication has the twin tasks of documenting two exhibitions and at the same time revealing more raw thinking prior to the actual production. Things are layered and juxtaposed heavily and that’s exactly the wildness in its most complex form that I was searching for. On top of this, there is an escalating tempo in the structure of the book, page by page, with an articulation of chaptering but without an effort of ordering. It’s an aesthetic and formal manifestation of the book that documentational images are constantly interrupted: other images jump in front. Ironically this interruption becomes another rule in the book, creating a tension that we almost anticipate. I believe that there is something humorous and courageous about how image, documentation and motives interchange their conventional roles and turn chaotic hierarchy into a new order. I have to say that working with Manuel this time was a true inspiration; I felt able to unfold something so directly and clearly and it’s an amazing feeling to be accommodated by a designer. Our shared experiences of working on several previous books helped us to be so wild, floating freely between different materials.
Extract from A Conversation with Haegue Yang, Emily Smith, Michael Stanley, and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson.
Published by Modern Art Oxford and Aspen Art Press, edited by Ryan Shafer and Emily Smith, hardcover, 190 pages, 185mm × 230mm, ISBN: 978-1-90135-252-8. Available via Modern Art Oxford and Aspen Art Museum.