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Press Release

Dubai, UAE – Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to announce artist Ran Hwangs’s solo show ‘Becoming Again’ opening on 15th November 2021.


Hwang has transcended the meaning of “everyday use,” as she employs materials such as paper buttons to create intricate yet powerful depictions of natural beauty. Her work is both conceptual and practical, as she engages with Zen Buddhist ideology of repetition through the execution of her artistic process. Ran Hwang finds tranquility through these meditative principles. She transforms the pins as they are hammered to Plexiglas panels, just as she does when weaving thread. Hwang utilizes concentration, patience, and dedication as she creates these works- all in an effort to celebrate the transience of this very practice.

Hwang’s Korean heritage as well as her experience living and working in the United States influence her art-making. Hwang’s earlier career began in the fashion industry at an embroidery design studio in the garment district. While there, she discovered boxes of unused buttons, and was struck by the lack of attention they received. Later on, at her studio in Dumbo, Hwang would observe the twin towers collapse during 9/11 from her own window. This left a great impression on her, leading her to contemplate ideas of collectivity, life, death, and rebirth that would translate in her work for years to come.

Hwang has since focused on the material as a key role in the product. She explores her cross-cultural experience within her work with the use of mass-produced materials that elevate and shape into the natural understanding of the world. Her work transcends “women’s work,” and redefines “craft”- as she discovers the fluidity in construction, rethinking what it means for a mechanism to be employed within the setting of the work. Iconic Buddhist imagery of birds, temples, and cherry blossoms are all juxtaposed with the indistinguishable element found within buttons, creating an aesthetic non other than her own.