Bada Song: Ta-iL, at the Agency Gallery

News of an exhibition by Bada Song at the Agency Gallery this month:

Bada Song: Ta-iL

the Agency Gallery, 66 Evelyn Street London SE8 5DD,
25th Jan 2014 – 1st March 2014
Preview 24th January, 6-9pm
Wed-Sat 10.30am – 6pm
Last Fridays of the Month 10.30am – 8pm

The Agency is pleased to present works on paper by Korean artist Bada Song in Gallery 1.

Bada Song, Yeonji, 2013, C-Print
Bada Song, Yeonji, 2013, C-Print

Bada Song has been recognised for her strong position as a mark‐maker who is influenced by her performance practice. Her approach to drawing is broad and cross‐disciplinary, involving live performance, photography, sound pieces, video and painting.

Bada Song, Ta‐iL 11, 2013, graphite on black board, 65 x 47 cm
Bada Song, Ta‐iL 11, 2013, graphite on black board, 65 x 47 cm

The Leitmotif of Song’s practice is Ta‐iL, a continuing series of representations of traditional hanok rooftiles as a symbolic pattern. The word Ta‐iL is a phonological play on the English word “tile”. It does not exist in Korean but is made up by the artist in reference to the common appropriation of English words into the Korean language using familiar Korean sound patterns and English spelling. Song’s interest in the roof tile as a symbol of shelter stems from a specific Korean context: During the Japanese occupation of Korea until 1945 traditional house building was discouraged, and in the subsequent Korean War (1950‐53) much of the housing stock was demolished. Post‐war there were little funds and the devastated traditional hanok housing in urban and rural areas was rapidly replaced by hundreds of plain low‐cost apartment blocks, built fast as company housing on the periphery of the urban centres of South Korea.

Bada Song, Yeonji‐ Garigea
Bada Song, Yeonji‐ Garigea, live performance commissioned for: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951‐82): a portrait in fragments, KCCUK

Despite the obvious and relevant direct references to hanok architecture, Ta‐iL as a conceptual principle underpins most aspects of Bada Song’s practice. The tile/ cover also signifies shelter, covering, also the gesture of covering one’s face to hide emotions or covering one motif with another. Her recent triptych of ‘Yeonji’, 2013 consists of three elements: a photograph showing the artist as a traditional Korean bride, her face obliterated by a red circle, a diptych of sound pipes, covered in red nail varnish and lipstick marks emanating the sound of Bong Sun Flower, a Korean resistance song with a significant literary reference in Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s 1982 post‐structuralist novel ‘Dictee’ and thirdly a life performance of the song with the artist covered by a giant cloth hand sewn from red circular pieces. All three elements reveal different rigorous approaches to layering and covering as a wider application of mark‐making. This is congruent with the dense graphite mark formations of her much more minimal Ta‐iL drawings.

Bada Song’s work is a confident and intriguing way of negotiating drawing from a premise, which does not limit it to a genre. Instead her gestural and semiotic approach opens drawing up as a cross‐medial art form.

Bada Song was born in Jeju Island, and grew up in Seoul, Korea. She moved to London over a decade ago and was awarded the Jerwood Prize( 2nd) for Drawing in 2012.

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