Braced Exhibition

Purgatory Imploded

By Yang-ha

Private view:
11th April, 6–9pm

Exhibition dates:
12th April – 4th May, 2024

Purgatory Imploded
“Reflections on Existential Threats”

Purgatory Imploded is the solo exhibition of Yang-Ha, marking the completion of her 3-month solo residency at Unit 1 Gallery|Workshop. Yang-Ha has been exploring change, dramatic explosive rifts in her painting and sculpture practice for several years. During her residency, new palettes and themes have opened and been investigated resulting in a body of works that define themselves with unique contrast to previous works. The pastel pinks, blues and maroon highlighted with whites are replaced with a pallet much relating to the London urban fabric. Terracotta brick reds, yellows and greens sit together with sooty greys and liquid ash as well as the blues. Yang Ha has referenced the shapes of the windows in the studio and has painted dream like interiors, uncharacteristically figurative for her. These places vacillate between interiors and exteriors inhabited by a being that is seemingly exploding or coming apart. The childish mark making, the colour choices reflect and innocence that is quickly subverted and the haunted dismemberment becomes apparent. We inhabit the world of simultaneous horrors and beauties and reconciling the two is increasingly difficult. These paintings have an air of post-apocalyptic evidence, the paint resembling water damage after fire.
“Purgatory Imploded,” delves into the stark dichotomies of our world. In a time where wars ravage and citizens’ lives are upended, our own existence in London may seem sheltered from immediate danger. However, beneath this illusion of safety lies a growing awareness of existential threats and the looming spectre of dramatic change. Yang-Ha’s sophisticated works navigate these contrasts with subtlety and depth. Through her abstract paintings and sculptures, she confronts the fragility of human experience and the pervasive sense of uncertainty that defines our times. Windows, often depicted in his pieces, serve as symbolic portals into realms both familiar and enigmatic, reflecting the tension between inner and outer worlds. Can we pretend its not happening, are her works an escape or an admittance of the duality? At first glance, Yang-Ha’s creations may appear whimsical, with playful toy-like images dotting her canvases. Yet, upon closer inspection, these scenes are punctuated and indicate that they are exploding—a sobering reminder of the violence and upheaval that shape our collective consciousness. The juxtaposition of innocence and devastation prompts viewers to confront the complexities of our shared humanity and the precariousness of our existence.

“Purgatory Imploded” is an exhibition that considered the nature of waiting for something to change, the torture of not really knowing what is coming whilst we witness countless lives in many places unrecognisably altered. Will our time come? The viewer is invited to contemplate the realities of a world in flux, where the threat of sudden and profound change hangs heavy in the air. Post pandemic insecurities and the truth of uncertainty linger in the works. The doors and window providing neither vista nor escape, just the constant vibration the of possible dangers – thus a type of purgatory. Yang-Ha’s works ask us to reflect on the anxieties and uncertainties of our time while also offering a space for introspection and connection. As we navigate the intricacies of contemporary life, her works remind us to remain vigilant, to question our perceptions, and to confront the existential truths that linger just beneath the surface.

More About Yang-Ha
“I collect historical images and use them to tell stories on flat surfaces. I find the world to be full of contradictory tragedies that I am unable to comprehend. Although I used to solve tragedies by attending protests, I realised that there is nothing I can do about it. My clumsy painting gestures could be directed at the society in which we live. In my paintings, I play with cute vocabulary between figurative and abstract painting languages to the space as well. This indicates my sarcastic attitude toward this contradictory planet. These unintentional errors in the works are a prayer for a better life. Everything is beautiful in my artistic language, but it conceals ironic tragedies. I play with a gap between macroscopic systems in the world and personal history. While depicting darker aspects of society, I use a clumsy and childish visual language that indicates my point of the view. It has a sarcastic tone, similar to my artistic work to better understand the world. It is represented by cartoony elements such as clouds, explosions, and teddy bears. “ Yang-ha (b. 1994, Seoul, KR) graduated from Frank Mohr Institute in 2021. In 2021, she had her first Dutch solo exhibition at H47, Leeuwarden. This October, she will have a duo-show at Josilda da Conceicao Gallery in Amsterdam.


About Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop and the Workshop Foundation:

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop is an exhibition and residency space in London and unique in its approach to bringing artists and their practices to the public. They support a diverse range of emerging and mid-career contemporary artists by providing them with space and time to develop their practice, network within our growing community, be mentored by team members and crucially be introduced to their expansive network of collectors, art educators, professionals and visitors.

Through their residency programmes and exhibitions, they give artists, curators and theorists a platform to present work and share ideas as well as creating an environment for freethinking and exchange.

They have now organised more than 40 exhibitions with over 120 artists and curators, with 10 exhibitions and 25 artists in residence a year, drawing in international audiences and participants, as well as being a local landmark in the community of Kensington and Chelsea and its surrounds.

Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop was founded in 2015 by artist Stacie McCormick in a former builder’s merchant.



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