Christophe Guye Galerie,
Christophe Guye Galerie,
Unseen Platform: You’ve previously said that you regard photography as a language, a means to communicate indescribable things. How does Radiator Theatre engage with this idea?
Ina Jang: As soon as I started studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York, one of my goals was to develop my own language through photography. The medium allowed me to express my thoughts, interpret current events, and interact with other people. For Radiator Theatre, I encouraged myself to let go of my usual processes. I began to recall many occasions when I was unable to think of a certain word or expression. The project is devoted to the relationship with one’s mother-tongue and our encounters with foreign languages. The beginning of Radiator Theatre overlapped with my Utopia series which navigated the passive portrayal of women in Japanese softcore porn magazines. I have continued with some of the same technical elements, for example playing with light and shadow. Everything I make is concurrent as it all forms part of my life. Radiator Theatre however is perhaps a more accessible body of work for many viewers. It captures the politics of language with romantic ambiguity.
Your mixed media practice implies a mastery of paint and graphic design. How did you end up focusing primarily on photography?
It all started when I got a camera as a birthday gift years ago. Back then, I was exploring photography as a way of documenting what’s around me – I liked its immediacy and directness. I started sketching ideas, and suddenly, it wasn’t enough only to photograph objects as I found them. To create the Radiator Theatre images, I made temporary, painted three-dimensional structures. Colours have always been a huge obsession for me. In Radiator Theatre there is no defining reason for my choice of palette. The decision feels almost built-in.
Could you tell about the title of the project?
My apartment is south facing, so I naturally get a great amount of light, especially during winter. Starting from where the radiator is situated, my apartment fills with this glowing light throughout the day. For years, the radiator top has provided me with a solid platform – a sort of stage – where I could build something quickly to photograph. It must be said, however, that it’s not the wisest idea to work under direct sunlight and so close to a heat source. I started getting weird tans and I always got really sweaty and hot! I usually laughed after a difficult, day-long shoot! That’s the real theatre in all of this.