Haegue Yang

The VIP’s Union


Opening: 22.06.2017
Curated by: Barbara Steiner

About the exhibition

How do you become a VIP, a “very important person”? Who is one? Heads of state, politicians, actors, football stars?  The Korean artist Haegue Yang began her VIP’s Union series in 2001. Now her work is being specially adapted for Graz.


As its starting-point, “very important persons” from the city and region are asked to provide a chair or table of their choice for a “VIP Room”. The Kunsthaus Graz decided to invite persons who are important for them – that is, people who have a close relationship to the institution in very different ways. So, for example, the governor of Styria, and its minister for economy, culture and tourism, as well as members of the Association of Friends of Modern and Contemporary Art, of the board of trustees, the supervisory board, artists and cooperation partners linked with the Kunsthaus have all lent their furniture.


In this way a collective portrait of the Kunsthaus emerges, blended from many different individual elements. As an expression, each item is different and the loan is based on the generosity of those involved.


Arranged by the artist, the presentation of VIP’s Union consists of two phases. Firstly – from June 22nd 2017 – the furniture will be on show throughout the building. The “VIP Room” is transformed into a space which can be used not just by a few VIPs, but is open to all visitors. In the second phase, from February 8th to April 2nd 2018, an exhibition in Space02 and a catalogue edition will conclude the project.


VIP’s Union in Graz is connected with earlier presentations from this series, realised in Berlin, Bristol, Antwerp, Bonn and Seoul. It is the portrait of a cultural landscape of each place, both abstract and yet also very concrete, since it displays a range of tastes and ideas about “very important persons” and maps their connection with each of the cultural institutions as a potential community.



Haegue Yang’s oeuvre examines the emotional power of materials: her works blur attributions between the modern and pre-modern. They operate out of a vocabulary of visual abstraction, where industrial production merges with craftsmanship. Yang’s works reveal constant references to art history, history, literature and political biographies, while employing hidden social structures that repeatedly evoke forms of different communities, and so refer to recurring themes such as migration, post-colonial diaspora, forced exile and social mobility.



Yang’s works have been shown at major exhibitions including Lingering Nous, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); An Opaque Wind Park in Six Folds, Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2016); The Malady of Death: Écrire and Lire (commissioned by M+), Hong Kong (2015); Shooting the Elephant 象 Thinking the Elephant, Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2015); Come Shower or Shine, It Is Equally Blissful, Ullens Center for Contemporary Arts UCCA, Beijing (2015); Family of Equivocations, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Strasbourg (2013); Accommodating the Epic Dispersion, Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012); Arrivals, Kunsthaus Bregenz (2011); Voice and Wind, New Museum, New York (2010); and Asymmetric Equality, REDCAT, Los Angeles (2008). Her works have also been part of the 13th Lyon Biennale (2015), the Sharjah Biennial 12 (2015), dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel (2012), the 8th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea (2010) as well as the 53rd Biennale in Venice (2009). 


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