Ran Hwang Uses Buttons to Create Large-Scale Installations

by Roxanne GoldbergPosted on

South Korean, New York-based artist Ran Hwang uses buttons from the fashion industry to create large-scale, often immersive installations. The artist describes her process of hammering thousands of pins into a wall akin to a monk meditating. Both practices rely on repetition and result in something mystical.

In Hwang’s psychedelic passageways, the artist projects videos onto plexiglass covered in thousands of buttons. Loosely adhered to the surface with pins, the buttons shiver and rotate, creating perpetual movement reflecting the video in intricate and interesting ways. Hwang explains that by not fixing the buttons or using still images, her installations can operate as intentional reminders of the human tendency to be irresolute.

In addition to installations, Hwang uses string to connect thousands of pins to a two-dimensional surface. The negative space built by the artist results in such images as a crystal chandelier covered in cobwebs. Hwang explains this method of working is intended to suggest connections between people and “seemingly unlinked human experiences.” The desire to reveal connections and networks is evident in panels or walls featuring powerful, vibrant images of birds, Buddhas and cherry blossoms. In these works, larger-than-life animals, spiritual icons and vegetation take shape only when seen from a distance. When approached, the forms dissolved into a series of dots, as in a pointillist painting. The greater effect is a humble realization of our individual positions as part of a greater, more complete system.

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