VIP’s Union is a collaborative work developed at the intersection of the artist herself, the hosting institution, and the residents of the host city. Originally commissioned in 2001 as the design of the VIP Lounge of the Art Forum in Berlin, the work had several iterations in Bristol, Antwerp, Bonn, Seoul, Graz, Cologne, and New Plymouth. While the notion of VIP was redefined in each context and the display configuration changed due to the site specific conditions, the procedure remained the same. The hosting institution nominates a list of notable people and invites them to lend an item of furniture—be it a chair or a table—for the duration of the exhibition. The work takes shape as a collection of ready-made items which embody cultural, historical, and personal stories of the place and of their generous owners.
People considered important in fields of culture, politics, education, the private sector, social work, economics, sports, media, science, and entertainment in Timișoara were invited to take part in the project. The term “important” is context-specific—the selection of lenders was meant to convey a heterogenous picture of Timișoara and its social structure, and the variety of the exhibited pieces of furniture, with their different styles and origins, aims to convey a portrait of the community grounded on similarities as well as differences.
Haegue Yang (b. 1971, Seoul) lives in Berlin and Seoul. Her works are known for their eloquent and seductive sculptural language of visual abstraction, often derived from her research on historical figures, events, and traditional techniques. Yang’s diverse oeuvre includes conceptual works that display aspects of institutional critique. Observing hidden social structures to reimagine a possible community, themes such as migration, postcolonial diasporas, and social mobility are reinterpreted and recur in her works. Yang has exhibited in major international exhibitions including: the 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019); 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018); La Biennale de Montréal (2016); 12th Sharjah Biennial (2015); 9th Taipei Biennial (2014); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel (2012); and the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009) representing South Korea. Her recent solo exhibitions were held at South London Gallery (2019); La Panacée-MO.CO, Montpellier (2018); La Triennale di Milano (2018); Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth and Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2018); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2018); Kunsthaus Graz (2017); KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017); Hamburger Kunsthalle (2016); Serralves Museum, Porto (2016); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2015); and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul (2015). Her work will be part of the reopening of the Museum of Modern Art, New York on October 21, and her solo exhibition at the Bass Museum of Art, Miami will open on November 2 later this year.