Haegue Yang

Haegue Yang, a leading artist of her generation kicks off the first series of PlatformSTPI Projects (PSP) with Honesty Printed on Modesty, close to 100 new breakthrough works drawing attention to the power of spices and everyday food items – from its domestic function to its impact on civilizations and evolving human history.

Yang’s surprise discovery and usage of spices and vegetables found in markets of Singapore from around the world, charts the earliest drivers of globalization where the quest for spices established a vast economic network throughout the middle ages and colonialism. Followed by modernization and its scientific advancements, which revolutionized and continue to impact how food is harvested, processed and distributed to meet today’s consumption demands.

Yang experiments with new materials by integrating the physical and sensorial characteristics of spices and vegetables into handmade paper and sandpaper, exemplifying Rabindranath Tagore’s notion of domesticity, where the less representational and ordinary is significant and necessary for life (otherwise known as the ‘passive quality’ of women). These humble works bring viewers closer to the sensorial, tactile experiences with basic food items, tracing civilization’s origins and transformation, as well as Singapore’s development from a colonial hub to a modern, global city.

STPI Director Emi Eu comments, “Haegue Yang is an exciting artist to watch against the backdrop of globalisation, where her works provoke and encourage greater self awareness of changing identities, values and beliefs.”

Born 1971 in South Korea, the Berlin-based artist is known for her ability to transform industrially manufactured and often insipid items into abstract compositions that deliberately alters perceptions through fresh and sometimes destabilizing sensory experiences. Her practice of challenging the classic Aristotelian view of perception where ‘each of the five senses has a distinct and proper sphere of activity’ reflects her literary and philosophical interests.