Stereotypes about modern Germany have long centered on the allure of the Autobahn and its license for limitless speed. In the exhibition “Wohin?” (Where to?), Young-jun Tak disseminates and rearranges this trope in order to dismantle the popular constructs of German national identity.
The installation Mighty Samsons Wahnsinn (The Madness of Mighty Samson, all works 2022) splits the main space in two with a replica of the 1936 Berlin Olympics torch with a flame shaped from two fake-fur fox tails. The arrangement recalls the Biblical account of Samson, who, in an act of revenge, tied burning torches to the tails of three hundred foxes and then directed them toward the fields of the Philistines. To the left of this central sculpture, Herkules und sein Angebot (Hercules and His Offering) sticks a ceramic copy of the outstretched hand of the Farnese Hercules on the side of a highway guardrail. Nah und näher (Closer and Closer) inflicts violence on a smashed windscreen painted with the image of a fox. This gesture contrasts with the awkward tenderness of the tiny silicon nipple-shaped candles placed on a milking stool for Noch einmal bitte (Again, please).
Through this remix of mythologies, Tak approaches the materiality of the displayed relics from a nonpatriotic point of view, with a light fetishistic touch that resembles Kenneth Anger’s in the 1965 short film Kustom Kar Kommandos. The artist parlays this perspective to question where these prevalent notions of progress are leading, if not to oversimplifications of identity and a denial of its inherently hybrid, polyvalent nature.
— Gabriela Acha