Exhibition
15 November 2021–13 January 2022

A Solo Show by Ran Hwang

15 November 2021–13 January 2022 | Part of Alserkal Art Week

Hwang has transcended the meaning of “everyday use,” as she employs materials such as paper buttons to create intricate yet powerful depictions of natural beauty. Her work is both conceptual and practical, as she engages with Zen Buddhist ideology of repetition through the execution of her artistic process. Ran Hwang finds tranquility through these meditative principles. She transforms the pins as they are hammered to Plexiglas panels, just as she does when weaving thread. Hwang utilizes concentration, patience, and dedication as she creates these works- all in an effort to celebrate the transience of this very practice.

Starts 15 November 2021

Ends 13 January 2022

Venue Leila Heller Gallery

Warehouse 86/87

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Dubai, UAE – Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to announce Ran Hwangs’s Solo Show ‘’ opening on 15th November 2021.

Hwang has transcended the meaning of “everyday use,” as she employs materials such as paper buttons to create intricate yet powerful depictions of natural beauty. Her work is both conceptual and practical, as she engages with Zen Buddhist ideology of repetition through the execution of her artistic process. Ran Hwang finds tranquility through these meditative principles. She transforms the pins as they are hammered to Plexiglas panels, just as she does when weaving thread. Hwang utilises concentration, patience, and dedication as she creates these works- all in an effort to celebrate the transience of this very practice.

Hwang’s Korean heritage as well as her experience living and working in the United States influence her art-making. Hwang’s earlier career began in the fashion industry at an embroidery design studio in the garment district. While there, she discovered boxes of unused buttons, and was struck by the lack of attention they received. Later on, at her studio in Dumbo, Hwang would observe the twin towers collapse during 9/11 from her own window. This left a great impression on her, leading her to contemplate ideas of collectivity, life, death, and rebirth that would translate in her work for years to come.

Hwang has since focused on the material as a key role in the product. She explores her cross-cultural experience within her work with the use of mass-produced materials that elevate and shape into the natural understanding of the world. Her work transcends “women’s work,” and redefines “craft”- as she discovers the fluidity in construction, rethinking what it means for a mechanism to be employed within the setting of the work. Iconic Buddhist imagery of birds, temples, and cherry blossoms are all juxtaposed with the indistinguishable element found within buttons, creating an aesthetic non other than her own.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Born in the Republic of Korea in 1960, Ran Hwang currently lives and works in both Seoul and New York City. She studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and attended the Graduate School of Fine Arts at Chung-Ang University in Seoul.


Hwang’s motifs of intricate blossoms and Buddha’s – which appear across a variety of media – stem from her fascination with Zen Buddhism. Buddhism is integral to Hwang’s creative process and labor-intensive execution. To construct much of her work, Hwang creates paper buttons by hand, hammering each one approximately twenty-five times until it is secure. Her process requires the utmost concentration and discipline, recalling the meditative state practiced by Zen masters.


Ran Hwang has exhibited at several international institutions including the Queens Museum of Art, New York; The Hudson Valley Center for the Arts, New York; the Chelsea Art Museum, New York; The Seoul Arts Center Museum; and The Jeju Museum of Art, Jeju Island. Hwang’s work is also a part of numerous private and public collections including The Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Des Moines Center for the Arts, Iowa; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul; and The Hammond Museum, North Salem, NY.

She is best known for her large-scale wall installations in which buttons, beads, pins, and threads on wood panels form images of falling blossoms, vases, Buddhas, and birds. Hwang’s installations have also taken on more current themes, exploring the fashion industry and female identities in popular culture. Drawing from Eastern philosophies, Hwang’s method is a meditative ritual in which she first projects an outline onto the wall, then traces its contour and painstakingly fills in the image with her materials, a process that can take up to a month. “The process of building large installations [is] time consuming and repetitive,” Hwang has said. “And it requires manual effort, which provides a form of self-meditation.”

ABOUT THE GALLERY

Since its establishment over three decades ago in New York, Leila Heller Gallery has gained worldwide recognition as a pioneer in promoting a creative dialogue and exchange between Western artists and Middle Eastern, Central and Southeast Asian artists. It has garnered a reputation for identifying and cultivating the careers of artists leaving a lasting impact on contemporary art and culture. Currently representing a diverse roster of Western and Middle Eastern artists, the gallery is also active in the American, European, and Middle Eastern secondary art markets. In November 2015, Leila Heller Gallery opened its first international location in Dubai’s Alserkal Avenue. At 14,000 square feet, the state of the art gallery features three exhibition spaces, making it the largest gallery in the UAE. Showcasing leading regional and international artists, many of whom will be presenting their work in the Middle East

Artist

Title

Medium

Size

Ran Hwang

Becoming Again_R6, 2021

Paper Buttons, Beads,Crystals, Pins onPlexiglass + PlexiglassFrame

W251 x H70 x D17cm

Ran Hwang

Becoming Again_R7, 2021

Paper Buttons, Beads,Crystals, Pins onPlexiglass + PlexiglassFrame

W251 x H70 x D17cm

Ran Hwang

Becoming Again_TB9, 2021

Paper Buttons, Beads,Crystals, Pins onPlexiglass + PlexiglassFrame

W251 x H70 x D17cm

Ran Hwang

Becoming Again_TB10, 2021

Paper Buttons, Beads,Crystals, Pins onPlexiglass + PlexiglassFrame

W251 x H70 x D17cm

Ran Hwang

Becoming Again_R16, 2021

PaperButtons,Beads,Crystals,Pins on Plexiglass +PlexiglassFrame(Front&Back)

W251 x H72 x D24cm

Ran Hwang

Becoming Again_R17, 2021

PaperButtons,Beads,Crystals,Pins on Plexiglass +PlexiglassFrame(Front&Back)

W251 x H72 x D24cm