BANG GEUL HAN, CFEVA FELLOW
Exhibition: June 20, 2019 to August 2, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 20, 2019 from 5 to 7pm
As a state of dysfunction, the concept of leakage offers us something maybe not entirely broken yet simultaneously never fully intact or in equilibrium. Leaks can be found everywhere, not only in aging pipes and ceilings but also in our human bodies, nation-state borders, and information infrastructure, as shown through the ongoing cycles of ‘big leaks,’ where both big and small revelations emerge from groups of hackers, whistleblowers, and anonymous insiders. In this exhibition, leaked documents are presented together with more intimate accounts of ‘leaks,’ weaving personal experiences with more global and structural understandings.
The video work “Urine leaks like data and speaks like dreams” creates oblique yet intimate connections between the artist’s experience of chronic illness and the CIA’s secret surveillance hacking tools, via a pared down retelling of some of the artist’s most vivid dreams as performed through various hand gestures. In “Incontinental Paradise,” a female voice emanates from a commercially available fake rock designed to conceal ugly garden fixtures. Relying upon custom software and a micro-controller hidden inside the rock, the voice reads aloud the over twenty thousand names of US-based financial officers revealed in the Paradise Papers, one after the other, with the voice quietly chuckles or moans in between the names.
The exhibition debuts a new body of work “let me leak for you,” made in collaboration with London-based sculptor/installation artist Minna Pöllänen. The installation incorporates interactive sculptures, textiles, collage, and sound to create an environment that encourages tactile exploration and deep listening. The project gestures towards making the cultural invisibility of bodily leakage visible, while subverting the associated embarrassment or shame into a productive and creative vehicle. The installation uses both physical and conceptual manifestations of leakage, including textiles dyed with menstrual blood, urine PH strips collected over a six-month period, and a cushion with the outline of an ear leaking fluid. A leather-covered hourglass alludes to capitalistic obsessions of time leakage and productivity, while Korean folktales warn of the moral consequences of women’s bodily discharges and desires. The sound utilizes ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response sounds, known for triggering tingling sensations) and common linguistic cues taken from meditation videos that encourage peaceful and relaxed experiences. Han and Pöllänen have been collaborating since 2015 after recognizing a shared thematic focus in their individual practices (politics and codes of public space in a globalized digital milieu, cultural othering of the feminine and emotional labour). This is Han and Pöllänen’s third collaborative project.
Bang Geul Han (b. 1978) is an interdisciplinary artist working between moving images, performance, text, and code. Using digital technologies, Han’s work critically engages with language and body politics, blurring our understanding of private and public territories. Born and raised in Seoul, and based in the US since 2003, Han earned her BFA in Painting from Seoul National University in Korea and her MFA in Electronic Integrated Art from Alfred University, NY. She had solo exhibitions at NURTUREart, New York, NY; Projét Pangée, Montréal; Art Museum of SUNY Potsdam, NY; A.I.R. Gallery, New York, NY and Barbara Walters Gallery at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY. Selected group shows include those at DOOSAN Gallery, The Bronx Museum of the Arts; Queens Museum, NY; A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Centro Internazionale per l’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy; and SangSangMadang, Seoul, Korea. Han is a recipient of a number of artist residencies and fellowships including National Sawdust Summer Labs; Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program; A.I.R. Fellowship; MacDowell Colony; and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is 2017-18 Peter Benoliel Fellow at the Center For The Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia, PA. Han’s work has been discussed and reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Brooklyn Rail, Art Papers and Bomb Magazine. Han lives in Brooklyn, NY and teaches in the Design and Digital Media program at the College of Staten Island CUNY.
Minna Pöllänen (b.1980) is a Finnish visual artist living and working in London. Pöllänen’s installation-based practice weaves together various media including sculpture, textile, photography and drawing. The overarching theme of her recent works is the investigation into the relationship between the body and Western capitalism. She has looked at this relationship more specifically through consumerism, soft resistance, information overflow and intimacy. Pöllänen is interested in tactility and tenderness of and towards (art) objects and her works often carry interactive elements. Pöllänen holds an MA with distinction (2011) in Fine Art Photography from London College of Communication and is studying towards an MPhil/PhD by project in the School of Arts and Humanities in Royal College of Art in London. Her works have recently been shown in Studio Frontiera in Palermo (2018), Gallery Forum Box in Helsinki (2017), Queens Museum in New York (2016) and Galerie Projet Pangée in Montreal (2016). Pöllänen is the recipient of multiple residency fellowships including: Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris (2020, 2017), Triangle Arts Association in New York (2015), HIAP in Helsinki (2015- 2016) and Skaftfell Center for Art in Iceland (2014).
Pöllänen's work and participation at the show has been generously supported by Frame Contemporary Art Finland and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.
This work was completed during the artist’s Visual Artist Fellowship, a two-year incubation program that is key in CFEVA's commitment to fostering artistic excellence and furthering its mission to help visual artists build sustainable careers. Artists are selected for this program annually by an independent Board of Artistic Advisors based on the merit of their artwork, demonstrated ability to reach stated goals, and a clear vision for the next level in their professional practice. Learn more about this fellowship and other CFEVA programs at www.cfeva.org.