YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES. PLEASE MISTAKE ME FOR NOBODY
Dec 17, 2022 – Feb 5, 2023
Curator: Arkadij Koscheew
Neuer Berliner Kunstverein presents the first institutional solo exhibition in Germany of the Net Art pioneers YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES. The exhibition PLEASE MISTAKE ME FOR NOBODY brings together works from 2000 to 2020 that revolve around the theme of paranoia. Works such as OPERATION NUKOREA (2003) attain particular relevance in our times increasingly marked by wars and nuclear threats verging on reality. The work uses disturbing visual imagery to envision a nuclear attack by North Korea on the South Korean capital of Seoul. Most of the works on display were translated specifically for this exhibition into German for the first time.
Since its inception in the late 1990s, YHCHI has developed a distinctive style through its negotiation of cultural identity, material inequalities, (police) violence, the confluence of fact and fiction, and geopolitical realities, including the division of Korea. The works of the art duo are characterized by a high degree of abstraction that simultaneously constitutes its signature: YHCHI’s wide-ranging themes and interests are expressed almost exclusively through black writing on a white background. The text is synchronized to music that is often self-composed, building up sentence by sentence, word by word, or letter by letter.
The broad accessibility of YHCHI’s works is expressed not only in the use of the internet as a conceptual space but also in the translation of its works into 26 languages to date. The art duo’s works combine aspects of net art, video art, and literature, and embrace the egalitarian approaches to the distribution of narratives and messages they entail. Young-Hae Chang and Marc Voge did not succumb to the hype around interactivity that gripped the early days of the internet. Instead, for example, the supposed co-creation of net literature by its audience by clicking on hyperlinks is recognized as a fictitious interactivity and strictly rejected. YHCHI, certainly not without a twinkle in their eyes, also speak of wanting their works “to exert a dictatorial stranglehold on the reader.”
In 2018, the M+ Museum in Hong Kong acquired the artist’s proof 2/2 of YHCHI’s entire body of work (including all existing and future works). YHCHI thus belongs to the tiny minority of artists whose future work has already been acquired by an internationally active museum during their lifetime. Every six months, M+ receives an update of its purchase in the form of a USB stick containing the drafts, translations, and screening files of YHCHI’s works. M+ Museum also commissioned the large-scale work CRUCIFIED TVS – NOT A PRAYER IN HEAVEN (2021) for its opening in 2021. In New York City, the New Museum opened its new building in 2007 with the comprehensive installation BLACK ON WHITE, GRAY ASCENDING.