Seung Yul Oh: HaaPoom

HaaPoom takes its title from the Korean word for ‘yawn’, an infectious and often involuntary act. The reference continues artist Seung Yul Oh’s interest in exploring creativity, expression and surprise. Working from the simplest of materials, he transforms everyday experiences into unexpected encounters that are activated by audiences. The title is also a nod to both the wind as a defining characteristic of West Auckland, as well as Oh’s keen interest in expansion, growth, kinetic forces and latent potential through the lightest of materials: air.

Always playing with scale, Oh is an expert at creating big effects with the lightest touch, including huge inflated sculptures that can occupy large spaces but remain vulnerable to deflation. Through common motifs, like balloons or giant eggs, he references cycles of growth and regeneration, as well as the spontaneous processes and potential of cosmological forces. HaaPoom proposes that the big bang is a giant yawn and provides a playful universe of wonder and primal experiences.

HaaPoom is Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery’s biggest exhibition to date, spread through four galleries and activating many spaces between. The exhibition features new work made specifically for our new and architecturally distinctive spaces by one of New Zealand’s most dynamic and internationally active contemporary artists.

The exhibition is curated by Andrew Clifford and is accompanied by a limited edition artist publication, kindly supported by Starkwhite.

Seung Yul Oh (b. 1981, Seoul, Korea) is a Korean New Zealand artist based between Titirangi and Seoul. He has been described by The Guardian (UK) as a ‘rising star of the Asian art market’. He moved to Auckland in 1997 and graduated with an MFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, The University of Auckland in 2005. His survey exhibition MoaMoa was presented at Dunedin Public Art Gallery in 2013 and City Gallery Wellington in 2014. He has staged solo shows and projects at Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Basel Hong Kong; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington; Artspace, Auckland; The Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt; Ggooll, Seoul, and Christchurch Art Gallery. Group exhibitions include the Auckland Art Gallery; Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth; City Gallery Wellington and 4A Centre for Contemporary Art, Sydney. Permanent public commissions have been built in Auckland and Hamilton. He is represented by One and J. Gallery in Seoul and Starkwhite in Auckland.

29 August - 08 November 2015

View more images on our Facebook page here.

Photos: Sam Hartnett


HaaPoom ArtWeek events
Saturday 10 October, 10am-4pm

HaaPoom Spotify soundtrack by Clinton Watkins

HaaPoom publication
Published by Te Uru - $20