frieze video - 01 Feb 2019

The Power of Haegue Yang’s Mundane Eye Mask

‘Metaphorically, wearing an eye mask bids farewell to this desire to know, instead, one must rely on something unknown’

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‘As a visual artist, choosing an eye mask might be ironic. It’s common, mundane and doesn’t seem to have an identity,’ says South Korean artist Haegue Yang.

Yang often uses standard household objects in her work, in attempt to remove them from their functional purpose. Two things interest Yang about this ordinary mask: ‘first: travelling is a big part of my life… the eye mask helps me to rest during all these trips.’ The second aspect, she explains, is about ‘blindness; I’m talking about what we don’t see or deliberately don’t want to see.’ Seeing, Yang explains, refers to knowing.

‘Metaphorically, wearing an eye mask bids farewell to this desire to know, instead, one must rely on something unknown.’

Haegue Yang has a solo show opening at the South London Gallery in March. In September she will also exhibit work at Kukje Gallery in Seoul.

‘The Thing’ is a new series of eight short films starring Jarvis Cocker, Neil Tennant, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Goshka Macuga, Jeremy Scott, Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Mack and Haegue Yang. For the series, Frieze asked each artist to choose a single object of significance from their working or living environment and discuss what makes it special. Directed by Peter Strickland and produced by Jacqui Edenbrow, the series is based on a long-running frieze d/e magazine column, ‘Das Ding’, featuring artists such as Brian O'DohertyAdrian Piper and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. Read all the previous series’ respondents here.