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DCA Archive

Rae-Yen Song

▷▥◉▻

This exhibition debuts a new body of work by Glasgow-based artist Rae-Yen Song.

▷▥◉▻ gives viewers a glimpse of an alternate dimension, shaped according to the ancestral logics and imagined futures of Song’s family, which serves simultaneously as a spectacle, a memorial and a refuge.

Within this project we are granted access to an array of artworks in sculpture, textiles, printmaking, sound and moving image. Structurally, these artworks form the head, body, bones and organs of an ambiguous being drawn from the artist’s own heritage and familial mythology. These elements merge together to form a speculatively sacred space from an uncertain point in time and space which floats somewhere between history, memory and imagination.

Song’s practice explores self-mythologising as a survival tactic: using fantasy to create a personal cultural language informed by autobiography, family stories, relationships and memories. Adopting this language as a tool for self-definition and imaginative resistance, the artist creates multidimensional bodies of work that speak broadly and politically about race, gender, culture, identity and what it means to belong – or not.

Through this work, Song uses lived experience as a starting point to reconstruct a sense of self uncoupled from cultural stereotypes and stigma based on gender and race. Using myth and fantasy, and actively rejecting Western narrative structures in favour of experimental forms, the work interrogates issues of diaspora and hybridity, in spaces created by the artist where cultural rules and social norms have been overturned.

The cornerstones of familial connectedness – from storytelling to sibling dynamics to ancestral traces – sit at the heart of this project. Song’s works are always a form of personal activism, where alternative realities are proposed and ownership over biographical narratives is reclaimed.


About the artist

Rae-Yen Song (b. 1993, Edinburgh) is an artist living and working in Glasgow. Song studied at Glasgow School of Art, and works across sculpture, drawing, installation, video, sound, costume, family collaboration and performative actions in public.

Selected projects include: a LUX Scotland moving image commission for BBC Scotland (2021); Dislocations, Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow (2021); Fabric of Society (Glasgow International, 2021); songdynasty.life (Edinburgh Art Festival, 2020); ✵may-may songuu✵, CFCCA, Manchester, 2020; Survey, Jerwood Space, London, 2018; Platform, City Art Centre, Edinburgh, 2018; Human Rights Arts Festival, JDA Perera Gallery, Colombo (2017). Recent residencies include with Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2019-21); Hospitalfield, Arbroath (2019); Sura Madura, Sri Lanka (2017).

Song is also the co-founder of the collaborative projects YAKA Collective and Jarsdell Solutions Ltd.

This exhibition has been supported by The Turtleton Charitable Trust.

DCA's 2021 Exhibitions Programme has been supported by the William Syson Foundation.

    


Exhibition photography by Ruth Clark.