Jiae Hwang

Region: South

I am interested in the link between words and meaning, and the creation of a surplus of value through interpretation. In the project Rise Above, a phonetic variation demolishes the expectations of the demand made in the title: “rise above” comes to mean something completely different—“rice above.”

To produce my work, I throw, trace, and paint rice placed on top of large pieces of silk. Rice is a symbolically charged medium: the gesture of throwing rice conveys auspiciousness in the West, but in the East it is a sign of disrespect concerning the economy, labor, and tradition. Just as “rise” can become “rice,” the meaning of actions is fluid and ambivalent. In this experimental terrain, the gender-charged fabric of silk is another ready-made that can provoke a reaction. This reaction, in my view, prompts questions regarding the notion of cultural and societal capital.

Working like an anthropologist or editor, I encounter and select from a vast range of ideas, which include graphic design, psychology, mysticism, fashion, and postwar North American abstraction.