Ran Hwang
Ran Hwang graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and subsequently went on to attain her Masters Degree in Fine Arts at the Graduate School of Arts Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea. This Korean-born artist currently resides and practices her craft in New York, and is best-known for creating intricate, large-scale wall installations with exquisite materials from the fashion industry such as beads, buttons, pins and thread. A multiple award winner, Ran Hwang has completed many residencies and her works have been exhibited across the globe, including Korea, Switzerland, USA and France, and collected by distinguished hotels, museums and companies. 
 
Viewing 21 works by Ran Hwang
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Biography

Biography

Ran Hwang graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and subsequently went on to attain her Masters Degree in Fine Arts at the Graduate School of Arts Chung-Ang University in Seoul, Korea. This Korean-born artist currently resides and practices her craft in New York, and is best-known for creating intricate, large-scale wall installations with exquisite materials from the fashion industry such as beads, buttons, pins and thread.  

To the artist, buttons and beads symbolize the commonplace ordinariness of human beings; pins being the points of connection, and threads as a communicative link. Using a hammer to pound thousands of pins into walls in the process of her art, Ran Hwang herself projects the austere embodiment of a monk practicing spiritual discipline and Zen. This repetitive and laborious working process results in grandiose images of objects and beings, representing the natural and divine, in an attempt to address current social issues. Through her works, she constantly seeks to explore and delve into human experiences and connections, as well as positive and negative spaces. For the past decade, her works have been exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions across the globe in countries such as Korea, Switzerland, USA and France, and are collected by distinguished hotels, museums and companies including the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong, the Shin Choi Fashion Company in New York, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul.  

Ran Hwang has completed several residencies such as at the Performance Space Studio Residency Program in 2011; the AAI-Artist Alliance, Lower East Side-Rotating & Long Term Studio Program in 2006; as well as the Full Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Residency Program, Vermont, U.S.A in 2004. Her works have been awarded the Gold Prize at the AHL Foundation Annual Arts Competition, New York in 2004; the Kyung-In Art Grand Exhibition at Puchun City Museum, Korea in 1996, and the Korean Water Watercolor Public Subscription Exhibition, Cultural Art Promotion House Art Hall, Seoul in 1995.

At first glance, simplicity may seem to define her work, but simplicity is merely a thin veil over an intricate and thoughtful process resulting in an alluring and seductive body of work. Ran Hwang uses buttons, or threads, with pins to produce provocative images of vessels, of birds and of the Buddha both as installations and as objects on their own. Her practice speaks to the meditative nature that a repetitive process inspires where the experience of the work cannot be separated from its materiality and how it is made. In her most recent series, Hwang reflects on the nature of the vessel. As she explains, "Containers can be empty or serve to contain something. Like our bodies, they can be filled or emptied." Her works can be seen as a contemplation of impermanence and mortality. The strength of Hwang's work is in its process and the resulting immediacy and resonance with the viewer.

Hwang constructs the complex textuality of her works with simple, everyday objects, such as buttons, pins and threads, and, by recontextualizing them, they are transformed and seen anew. Because they have been removed from their recognizable, functional context into an unconventional one, they create a visuality that is tactile, and call upon a mimetic knowledge that becomes re-experienced in their presence. Her objects offer a familiar site in which to delve deeper in order to generate reflection, and even wonder. For Hwang, contemplating and representing a larger wholeness bring a sense of peace. The process of constructing these works is an object of meditation for Hwang.

One way to approach Hwang's work is by considering the Buddhist ideas of the interdependence of form and emptiness, in other words, form is emptiness, and emptiness is nothing other than form. In the case of Hwang, this concept can be seen in the interdependence of negative and positive space. The self (body and mind) depend on all that is not-self, just as the vessel's form depends on the space around it. Similarly, a vessel's usefulness depends on the interplay of form and emptiness.

Artist Statement

"I create large icons such as a Buddha or a traditional vase, using materials from the fashion industry. The process of building large installations is time consuming and repetitive and it requires manual effort which provides a form of self-meditation. I hammer thousands of pins into a wall like a monk who, facing the wall, practices Zen. My works are divided into two groups. In the first, pins used to hold buttons remain free to move and suggest the genetic human tendency to be irresolute. I choose the material of buttons, which are as common and ordinary as human beings. In the second group of works, a massive number of pins connects yards of thread creating a negative space of the presented images, threads suggesting connections between human beings and a communication network between seemingly un-linked human experiences. The filled negative space in the absence of positive space suggests mortality at the heart of self-recognition."


Selected Collections

2019
LG Household & Health Care (Artwork commission for LG Cosmetics, The History of Whoo), Korea
Raffles Hotel Singapore, Singapore

2018
Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Greece
EURIA company, Tour Carpe Diem Paris La Defense, France

2017
NYU Langone Medical Center, New York, USA

2016
Dubai Opera House, Dubai, UAE
Christian Dior, Paris (Artwork commission for Lady Dior As Seen By), France

2015
Pullman Kaifeng Hotel, Zhengzhou, China
Four Seasons Hotel, Seoul, Korea

2014
AFT Wall Art, Anthem of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International, USA
Third Floor-Hermès, Hermès Foundation, Singapore
Mandarin Oriental, Paris, France

2013
Des Moines Art Centre, Des Moines, IA  
Peninsula Hotel, Paris, France

2012
Brooklyn Museum, New York  

2011
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Hong Kong  

2010
The Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai  

2010
Shin Choi Fashion Company, New York  

2009
National Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Bank, Seoul, Korea  

2006
HANEZA Itariana, Fashion Company, Seoul, Korea  

2005
Hammond Museum, New York

Selected Awards

2017
AHL-Jason J. Kim Grant 2017, AHL Foundation, New York, USA

2015
Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation New York, USA
Artist in Residency, International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS), Texas, USA

2014
Selected for 2014 program, Third Floor-Hermès, Hermès Foundation, Singapore
The Studios at Mass MoCA, Residency Program, Mass MoCA, Massachusetts, USA
AAW Artist Studio Residency, Asian Art Works, Beijing, China

2011
PS122 STUDIO Residency Program, New York  

2006
AAI-Artist Alliance, Lower East Side-Rotating & Long Term Studio Program, New York  

2005
Full Fellowship, Vermont Studio Center Residency Program, Vermont, U.S.A  

2004
Gold Prize, AHL Foundation Annual Arts Competition, New York  

1995
Gold Prize, Korean Watercolor Public Subscription Exhibition, Cultural Art Promotion House Art Hall, Seoul, Korea        
  
1995
Art World Grand Prix, Kyung-In Art Museum, Seoul, Korea




Exhibitions

Exhibitions

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2019   
The Flight of Time, Leila Heller Gallery, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, Belgium

2017   
Joseon Korea: Court Treasures and City Life, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore
Ran Hwang: Sacred Space, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA

2016
Visual Symphony, Asian Art Works, Busan, Korea

2015   
UNESCO Paris Headquarters, Paris
MASS MoCA - Hunter Center Mezzanine, MA
International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS), Cardenas Gallery, Texas, USA

2014   
Becoming Again, Third Floor-Hermès Singapore, Singapore
Ran Hwang: The Snowfall of Spiders, Leila Heller Gallery, New York
Intervals, Asian Art Works, 798 Beijing, China

2012   
Ran Hwang: Transition, Leila Heller Gallery, New York

2010   
Illusion & Reality, Hakgojae Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2009   
Dreaming of Joy, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland

2008   
ACAF (Asian Contemporary Art Fair), Pier 92, Special Exhibition, New York

2007   
2X13 Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2006   
Hass Gallery, Bloomsburg University, PA, USA

2005   
Open Studio, Vermont Studio Art Center, Jonson Vermont, U.S.A

2004   
Hutchins Gallery, Long Island University, New York

2002   
Hudson River Gallery, New York
Yee Mook Gallery, Seoul, Korea

2001   
Hudson River Gallery, New York

2000   
Artsnal Gallery, Paris

1999   
Hudson River Gallery, New York

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2020
Pinned, Stitched, and Glitzed: Challenging the Gender Stereotype, Art Appel Gallery, Athens, Greece

2019    
Then and Now: Contemporary Asian Art, Hermitage Museum & Gardens, Norfolk, VA
Zen Grace, Easel Gallery, Shenzhen, China
DIFC Sculpture Walk, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Dubai, UAE
Matter 物, SA+ Gallery, Hong Kong
DOUBLE VISION (Curated by Jane "Baby Jane" Holzer), Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA

2018    
Infinite Blue, Brooklyn Museum, New York
Art in the Workplace, Yonsei University Dental Hospital
POSTMODERNISM AND AESTHETICS: COLLIDE OR STEER, Korea Cultural Center, New York
Paper Moon, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Greece
PASSION. CONTINUED, Asia Week New York Special Exhibition, Korean Cultural Center, New York,

2017   
Infinite Blue, Brooklyn Museum, New York
Mykonos Biennale, Trans Allegoria

2016   
Art & Life, Art Space Ben, Seoul
AHL Foundation 13th Annual Benefit Gala, New York
Material Girls, Contemporary Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Pinned Stitched and Glitzed, Asian Art Works, Beijing, China
Viewing The Past Thru Modern Eyes, Kang Collection, New York, USA
Lady Dior As Seen By, House of Dior, Seoul, South Korea; World Tour exhibition
Material Girls, Doris McCarthy Gallery, Ontario, Canada    
Water, KANEKO, NE, USA

2015   
AHL Foundation 12th Annual Benefit Gala, New York
Regeneration, Opera Gallery Paris, Paris, France
Pinned Stitched and Glitzed, Anya and Andrew Shiva Art Gallery, New York
Summer Show, Leila Heller Gallery, New York
Accidental Encounter, Buk Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea
Diverse Works: Director’s Choice, 1997-2015, Brooklyn Museum, New York
Arts in Spring, Guangzhou Library, Guangzhou, China
Material Girls, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

2014   
Asian Collection, Asian Art Works, Beijing, China
The Lineage of Vision, Korean Cultural Service, New York
AHL Foundation 11th Annual Benefit Gala, New York
MASS MoCA 15th Anniversary Benefit, New York
Art International Istanbul (Leila Heller Gallery), Istanbul, Turkey
Mix & Match, Artspace Ben, Seoul, Korea
Annual Watermill Summer Benefit Auction, The Watermill Center, Water Mill, New York
The Archives of Korean-American Artists, Queens Museum of Art, New York
The Fabergè Big Egg Hunt, New York
The Armory Show, Leila Heller Gallery, New York

2013   
Abu Dhabi Art, Kashya Hildebrand gallery, Abu Dhabi
Korea International Art Fair-Vip Lounge, AAW Beijing, Korea
Paths to Peace, Hammond Museum Guild Hall Gallery, New York
Living Room, Asian Art Works, Busan, Korea
Summer Group Show, Leila Heller Gallery, New York, USA
Freedom: Just another word for…,Kidspace@ Mass Moca, North Adams, MA
Transparencies: Contemporary Art and A History of Glass, Des Moines Art Center

2012   
Media Variegations, Asian Art Works, 798 Beijing, China
L'Asie en Vogue Exhibition, Pagoda Paris Gallery, France
Peekskill Project V, HVCCA-Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, NY
Conference of Birds, CYNTHIA-REEVES Projects, Mana Contemporary, New Jersey
FIFTH ANNUAL QUEENS ART EXPRESS, Jamaica Center for Arts Learning, NY
VIP Art Fair 2.0, Leila Heller Gallery, NY

2011   
Aha Moment!, Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul Art Center, Seoul, Korea
AHL FoundationAnnual Auction, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York
Sofia International Paper Art Biennale 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria
Finding Flow, Jeju Museum of Contemporary Art, Jeju Island, Korea

2010   
Foundation, Gala Auction, Arario Gallery, New York
B.I.E.N.N.A.L.E + ONE, Kwang-ju, Korea
Fokus Lodz Biennale 2010, Lodz, Poland

2009   
Kaleidoscope, Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
Beginning of New Era, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea
Triple of Light, mnav (Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales), Uruguay

2008   
KIAF (Korean International Art Fair), COEX, 2x13 Gallery, Seoul, Korea
Facial of Art- 20 Years Anniversary exhibition, Seoul Art Center Museum, Seoul, Korea

2007   
Incarnation, Hammond Museum, New York
Drawing the Line - Against Domestic Violence-Auction, The Metropolitan Pavilion,
Woman in Love, Tenri Gallery, New York









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