Button connoisseur Ran Hwang uses her distinct style both as a form of expression and as a form of meditation. When designing large installations made solely of buttons, beads, crystals, pins, and thread, Hwang becomes completely immersed in the project at hand and allows her work to consume her thoughts. “I create large icons such as a Buddha or a traditional vase, using materials from the fashion industry,” she writes. “The process of building large installations are time consuming and repetitive and it requires manual effort which provides a form of self-meditation. I hammer thousands of pins into a wall like a monk who, facing the wall, practices Zen.”
When examining her work as a whole, Hwang divides her pieces into two groups. “In the first, pins are used to hold buttons [that] remain free to move and suggest the genetic human tendency to be irresolute. I choose buttons, which are as common and ordinary as human beings,” the creator explains. “In the second group of works, a massive number of pins connect yards of thread creating a negative space of the presented images, threads suggesting connections between human beings and a communication network between seemingly unlinked human experiences. The filled negative space in the absence of the positive space suggests mortality at the heart of self-recognition.”
In addition to her impressive beaded plexiglass pieces, Hwang also incorporates video into her installations. Using a projector, the artist displays a video clip upon her reflective canvas and completely transforms the exhibit. While this digital element may seem quite different from her usual work, it continues to represent Hwang’s favorite themes: the circle of life, growth, seasonal changes, and self-reflection.