"Clinch" on display in Properties Of..., by Yi Sa-Ra ’20

Alumna Yi Sa-Ra '20 Exhibits Work in 'Properties of...' at the AHL Foundation

BY Amanda Breen, March 18, 2021

Visual Arts alumna Yi Sa-Ra ’20 has work on display in the AHL Foundation’s virtual exhibition Properties of... Sa-Ra was a recipient of the 2020 AHL Foundation Artist Fellowship, among three other recipients who are also featured in the exhibit.


Founded in 2003 by Sook Nyu Lee Kim, the AHL Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports Korean artists living in the US and promotes their work within the contemporary art world. To that end, AHL exhibits the work of emerging Korean and Korean-American artists, educates them about business best practices, and fosters a community of supporters via public programming that includes lectures, workshops, museum tours, and more. 


Properties of… “refers to the notion that artists do not create things that are new to us, but their art engages properties of the world and our lives to make them newly visible and tangible. Odor or temperature of personal situations, weight or complexity of public sentiments, or color, volume, or sound of things exist in between every being that composes the world,” the AHL site states.  


Sa-Ra’s art grapples with shifting perspectives around personal experiences, positioning them in our current societal moment. She draws attention to both intimate and societal issues through videos and films about memory, trauma, agency, and relationships. Her current video trilogy includes short films told from the perspective of temporary female immigrants. 


Two short films from Sa-Ra’s trilogy appear in the Properties of... exhibition. “Clinch” reveals an intergenerational, inter-Korean conflict between a landlady and a tenant who share a tiny NYC apartment. A series of domestic still lifes illuminates the tension. 


“When stretched too thin” follows a woman who moves from South Korea to NYC and secretly records her job interviews. Sa-Ra incorporates recordings of actual job interviews, narration, and the sounds of the city to explore the character’s most intimate thoughts as she enacts a silent rebellion. 


Sa-Ra’s work has been exhibited and screened in venues including Wallach Art Gallery, Lenfest Center for the Arts, New York, New York (2019); Insa Arts Space, Seoul (2017); Weekend, Seoul (2017); CHAPTER II, Seoul (2016); Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, Tokamachi, Japan (2015); Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul (2013); and Roger Williams National Memorial, Providence (2011).


Prior to attending the School of the Arts, Sa-Ra received a BFA with honors from the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2010, she was awarded the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship to attend the Yale Summer School of Art and Music in Norfolk. She has also been recognized by the JoongAng Ilbo Culture Media in Seoul. 


Properties of… is available to view here

"Clinch" by Yi Sa-Ra ’20

"when stretched too thin" by Yi Sa-Ra ’20