Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide)

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons (6 Nov. 2021 – 20 Jan. 2022)

Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide), The Mother Mountain Institute (2017 – ongoing), kinetic sound installation with growing collection of drawings and testimonials. Photography Kyle Tryhorn. Courtesy of the artist.

Sara Sejin Chang’s (Sara van der Heide) body of work traverses an array of formats and mediums, including film, writing, immersive installations, performances, and painting. Chang combines spiritual evocations, historical research and the unraveling of colonial narratives creating works that act as historical repair, healing and belonging.

The Mother Mountain Institute, on show at Casco Art Institute (6 Nov. 2021 – 20 Jan. 2022) is an ongoing artwork and artistic research project that collects testimonies from mothers who have lost a child to transnational and transracial adoption. These testimonies have been processed by the artist into a sound piece, sharing the stories of two mothers from South Korea and Bangladesh whose children were stolen and trafficked for adoption. The centrepiece of the installation is a mountain, whose presence evokes a spiritual entity, a patient shelter, and a companion for meditative walks who might provide answers to impossible questions transcending reason or logic. Inside this space representing the universe, a woman’s voice narrates the story of a mother and in alternation the mountain speaks. The installation is accompanied by twenty drawings of mountains made from 2015 to now, undertaken at mountains known for their spiritual qualities.

As an ongoing project, The Mother Mountain Institute mobilises us to intervene in the current transnational adoption system that embodies colonial order and capitalist logic, and ultimately imagine what an institution could be like if it were based on motherhood and the mountain, as a resource of consolation and wisdom.

A verbal description tour of the exhibition is available here.

About the artist

Sara Sejin Chang (Sara van der Heide) is a Korean-Dutch artist. Born in Busan (KR), she currently lives and works in Amsterdam and Brussels. Through her artistic practice, Chang has been questioning Eurocentric systems of categorisation and racialisation, and their penetration into all levels of life and contemporary Western society. Her work can be seen as poetic and intimate gestures that centralise a metacosmic and inclusive approach to modernity, transforming the meaning of value and time.

Chang is a former resident of De Ateliers, Amsterdam (1999-2001), and has been an artist in residence at ISCP, New York (2007) and at WIELS, Brussels (2016). Her work has been shown at the 11th Berlin Biennale, Berlin; Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh; Mu.ZEE, Ostend; Contour Biennale 9, Mechelen, Belgium; 6th Kuandu Biennale, Taipei; Argos, Brussels; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Amsterdam; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Sharjah Biennial 13, Beirut; the 1st Asia Biennial/the 5th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangzhou; The School of Kyiv: Leipzig Class. Seminar: Politics of Form, part of the Kyiv Biennial; the 19th Biennale of Sydney; the 11th Incheon Women Artists’ Biennale, Incheon; KIOSK, Ghent; M HKA, Antwerp; If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution, various locations; De Pont, Tilburg; Fondazione Giuliani, Rome; De Appel, Amsterdam; Marres, Maastricht; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Temporary Gallery, Cologne; De Vleeshal, Middelburg; 44th and 45th International Film Festival Rotterdam; Espai d’art Contemporani de Castelló, Spain; CAAC, Seville.