Your work is often inspired by context. How have visits to Cornwall in the UK influenced your recent work?
Haegue Yang: The exhibition at Tate St Ives [set to reopen after the national COVID-19 lockdown] brings together existing works with new pieces inspired by my visits to Cornwall in 2018-19. I felt so exposed to nature and the local cultural and sacred landscapes. Sentimental, melancholic, even romantic feelings overwhelmed me – tough and rough, sometimes dangerous, as well as mystical. In urban areas, I don’t often feel so emotionally challenged.
Ideas of water recur throughout the exhibition, strongly inspired by the landscape, mood, traditions, community and livelihoods of St Ives, but also a reminder of coastal communities and coastlines, elsewhere. In the new wallpaper piece, Non-Linear and Non-Periodic Dynamics, and in the new Trustworthies collage works, are notions of coastal landscapes, oceans, fog, floods, rain, waterfalls, storms and even dams, taps and buckets.
Mundus Cushion –Yielding X (2020) is a furniture sculpture inspired by St Senara’s Church in nearby Zennor and draws on the community’s craft skills evident in its church pews and kneeler cushions. This piece, comprising eight cushions on a wooden modular stand, borrows some of the motifs, techniques and shapes from St Senara’s, such as the labour-intensive cross stitching technique used on the pew cushions and the design of a sitting and kneeling bench. The piece connects the hopes and anxieties found in Cornwall and at sacred sites across different eras and locations.