Haegue Yang: Triple Vita Nestings at the IMA marks the artist’s first institutional solo show in Australia after her participation in the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial (2015–2016) and the recent 21st Biennale of Sydney. Bringing together selected works from more than a decade of Yang’s practice, these pieces straddle seemingly opposing artistic legacies and aesthetics, between conceptual art strategies and materially-driven craft techniques, industrial production and the handmade, and importantly for this exhibition, between figuration and abstraction. Yang’s work undoes these supposed binaries and creates immersive and imaginative experiences.
Triple Vita Nestings uses formal strategies—such as layering, doubling, splitting, and merging— to reveal how individual subjects are embedded in the lives, stories, and contexts of others. Multi-sensory environments, figurative forms, and voiceover narration evoke the biographies of real figures, as well as mythical or allegorical creatures, and self-reflexive ideas of alienation and neighbourliness.
Though these stories and ideas may be distinct, they are not presented in isolation: each character nests inside another, representing our interwoven or parallel realities. Yang has drawn from biographies of historical figures, manifesting preexisting encounters among them or alternately drawing idiosyncratic parallels between seemingly unrelated figures. Yang’s point of view on history, literature, and personal experience empowers us to perceive nested sets, or relations, between otherwise disparate lives.