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A Fire That Never Dies

The text is commissioned on the occasion of Young In Hong’s solo exhibition at Cecilia Hillstrom Gallery, Stockholm.

We are almost certain that fire is precisely the first object, the first phenomenon, on which the human mind reflected; among all phenomena, fire alone is sufficiently prized by prehistoric man to wake in him the desire for knowledge, and this is mainly because it accompanies the desire for love.”

Gaston Bachelard, The Psychology of Fire

The ancient rites whisper about lights within, equating bonfire to inner thrive, subjecting people to nature. The forces of fire are transformative, emanating warmth and energy so that the fire that you warm up with, qualify into the food you consume, heat the water you bathe in. Beyond its alterations, fire like all other three elements, is ascribed with a symbolic meaning.

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The gallery is pleased to present the second solo show with Korean artist Young In Hong. In recent years, Hong has continued to develop a unique body of work by using Korean free-hand machine embroidery inspired by the forms and contexts of English tapestry. Based in London over the past years, her interest in modern Asian craftsmanship and its exploration through a Western context, has become one of her main concerns. A Fire That Never Dies brings together a new body of work that concentrate on lost moments, mostly where social unrest is at stake. Focusing on the recent history of Modern Korea and furthering her quest for capturing the immaterial, transitional nature of collective experience, Hong pinpoints politically and emotionally charged moments of political consciousness and rituals of celebration.

Employing a combination of different media ranging from photography to painting and embroidery, alongside insertions of garment making techniques, Hong’s series is charged with pathos and grievance. She forms associations between sewing and painting, not only through combining them in a singular frame, but also through provoking their labour intensive qualities. Each image is formed of threads that exceed the frame.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with a text by Fatos Ustek.