Artist Spotlight: Coffee Kang

Coffee Kang is an artist encompassing many different worlds, all moving and shifting seemingly under her feet but she takes it in stride. It’s all impermanent, all part of the process. Having moved from China to Los Angeles to complete a Masters in photo media from the California Institute of the Arts she is now based in Southern California where she focuses her body of work on varying situations – how do we change spaces, how do spaces change us and how does culture affect these changes? As she creates meaning through her work we are invited to ask our own questions: how does process inform meaning? What is the importance of performance in relation to achieving a specific goal? These themes come up in Coffee’s time-based works, and so much more.

As she navigates her personal narrative using photo media, video and primarily performance centered pieces, the temporality of the medium helps to inform her personal and cultural historicity while trying to connect to a grander whole. This fluctuation, or state of flowing, relates back to how we move in certain spaces and how our culture affects perception as well as physical space. In this connection comes an exploration of inherited culture, identity and the power of the individual within a system.

While Coffee’s work changes in form it is comfortably placed within a tradition of performance and process, ultimately landing somewhere in the conceptualization and activities of Fluxus. In this established mode of creating ‘process matters more than the result’. This is the crux of the meaning making. It is not about a product, or even some intangible end result. More important, here, is the journey in the making. The performance or action is not to achieve something but to do something.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or courtesy of artist

These ideas are brought to life in her past works and performances, most notably in her temporal work The Funeral, wherein she performed a funeral for a previous piece. This work, titled Days in the Matchbox, was sentenced to death by a necessary move from her studio. In this way the artist created meaning out of a daily life stressor. She used the end result of moving out of her studio as a catalyst for meaning making through performance while reanimating an older piece for one final action.

In her seemingly permanent state of impermanence, or ‘current of changing’, Coffee Kang finds herself in Leipzig amidst a group of international artists all creating their own meaning within the context of the host city and more specifically within the Pilotenkueche artist residency. In this light the themes she works with can shine – they can flourish not by providing answers but by leading viewers and participants through the construction of purpose that happens within a group, within a new city, within the very process of critical thinking in both art making and art viewing.

In an attempt to explore her subconscious self, she will be looking to the stars that hang above Leipzig and the White Elster river that cuts through it. By connecting with the water flowing through the city she connects with all of the different bodies of water she has resided near, by connecting with the stars she connects not only to her inner self but to all of us that reside beneath them.

written by Adrian Klaus Rotzscher


See Coffee’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows: 

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced