Joo-hee Yang comes to Highgreen from Seoul in South Korea. She will be VARC’s artist in residence here until next July 2018. Joo-hee Yang has lived and worked in Paris and Marseilles and has exhibited in Italy, France, Germany and Canada as well as in South Korea.
Yang works with a variety of materials to make sculptural pieces. Her works reference the brutal concrete construction of urban cities but also of its impermanence and decay. She speaks of the strength but also the fragility of nature. The artist draws on local culture and uses its materials and meanings to make sculptures that explore particular aspects of place or cultural traditions.
“In advance of an experience of a new place, I am always both nervous and excited. I have had opportunities to live in cities and rural areas of many different countries but, like a nomad, I have moved every three to six months. For me, making my life and work for an extended period in a rural part of a country where I have never lived before will be a time of new discovery, experience and challenge. Once at Highgreen I hope to develop a detachment and critical distance from my work to date and I’ll be very interested to find out how my work evolves and changes over my stay.”
Joo-Hee Yang, September 2017
Since arriving at Highgreen Yang has been following various strands of enquiry.
She is interested in the relationship between nature and culture in its broadest sense; how people’s lives have been affected by place. She has been asking local residents to respond to the question ‘Who are you?’. This line of enquiry grew from the artist’s questioning of her own sense of self after years of moving internationally from place to place and exhibition to exhibition.
Yang has also been film-making; recording the landscape of a particular location near Highgreen from a viewpoint close to the ground. Every day for a month Joo-Hee was out on the fells over the winter with a small remote controlled vehicle and a video camera. Although starting from the same spot, the actual route taken, the light and weather makes each day’s record wonderfully different. We will be able to see the results of this fascinating work in film at her exhibition weekend.
A visit to Unison Colour nearby in Tarset where a huge array of artists’ pastels are hand-made, has prompted Yang to look in new ways at the papers produced as a by-product of the making process.
A date for your diary: 30th June – 1st July 2018 will be the Residency Exhibition Weekend when you will be able to see the completed artwork by Joo Hee that results from these explorations.
A well-attended Open Studio event was held in November at which Joo-Hee met many local residents. Since then she has been joining in and enjoying local social events such as the weekly Scottish County Dancing class held in the village hall during the winter.
During March and April Joo-Hee is leading workshops with children at Greenhaugh, West Woodburn and Otterburn First Schools and with young members of Bellingham and Otterburn Youth Groups. And, in May, she hopes to run a workshop for Tarset residents of all ages. More of that with a date nearer the time.