Art Review: Yin and yang, but not always in a good way


April 20th, 2022 4:00 pm| by Maria Dubin

What I find most refreshing is visiting an art show where you can walk in with open eyes – so not having done any homework, nor having read endless text, to have a clue of what is going on.

And Haegue Yang’s exhibition ‘Double Soul’ is undeniable eye candy. It’s highly Instagrammable and exuding positivity.

Initially lots to admire
Her colourful sparkling sculptures, often composed using ready-made items (doorknobs. chimney ventilators, window shades, bells, feathers and sugar and spice), are mostly humorous, so intended to bring a smile to your face. 

This is undoubtedly a show you can bring your children to without them complaining: “Not another boring museum exhibition”.

Highs and lows
My personal favourites were the whimsical viruses composed of doorknobs and beads, set before a fluffy purple-pink background – decorative, shiny, soft and dangerous, just like our collective experience of the last two years.

But I would give a wide berth to the endless columns of text in the middle room dedicated to the events of the lives of authors George Orwell and Marguerite Duras, which detail their association with the late South Korean composer Isang Yun (1917-95). Really, I wonder if anyone has the time to read it all.

Another off-key element is Yang’s graduation exam piece, which is displayed in a vitrine. It’s an interesting concept, perhaps, for an exhibition of contemporary artists’ graduation works, but as a one-off, like here, it is just that: off.

Less is more
Often, less is more, and while this is a large exhibition, it is not a retrospective as the museum´s director Mikkel Bogh explains.

Yang, a classically trained sculpturist in South Korea, liberated herself from her background whilst studying in Europe to go beyond her upbringing and explore unknown paths. 

Danish twist
The Danish twist in the show is that Yang has been invited by the museum to work in dialogue with two Danish artists works: Sonja Ferlov Mancoba and Pia Arke.

And certainly the two sculptures she made in collaboration with the Danish pair are some of the finest in the exhibition.

Ultimately, though, it feels like a ruse to encourage her to make more of her intriguing signature work. 

Haegue Yang: Double Soul

ends July 31; National Gallery of Denmark, Sølvgade 48 -50, Cph K; open Wed 10:00-20:00, Thu-Sun & Tue 10:00-18:00, closed Mon; tickets: 120kr;