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Torrance Art Museum

Kayla Tange: Intentions

Curated by Jason Jenn 

September 21 — November 16, 2019

Inspired by childhood innocence, the meditative energy of Japanese Zen gardens, and the impermanence of Tibetan sand mandalas, artist Kayla Tange invites visitors to play, draw, and write intentions in an illuminated sandbox.


Intentions was originally created as a dedicated to the summer solstice and new beginnings, a safe space for creating intentions for the day year, or life, or for others with the idea of being the one who clears for the next person. It evolved into a multi-sensory interactive installation that becomes activated by each viewer. The soundscape was created by Brent Kiser and a composed cello piece by Ro Rowan with the inspiration of a dissonant past and a hopeful future.

The sandbox is built from past performance relics. The Plexiglas from my very first show Confession Box, the lights from the last Defining Boundaries. This had significance for me as it represents the last 4 years of my life, art, and hundreds of collected stories.

Intentions is inspired by the meditative elements of the Japanese Zen garden, incorporating the freedom and imagination of a childhood playground and the beauty and impermanence of clearing each intention with the Tibetan sand mandala. Each of the four corners is sprinkled with lavender, an herb used during the solstice believed to banish worries. The sand when written in or moved makes the light shine through, giving power to the words in the dark room. The rocks in the sandbox have a small circle or the word now drawn on them as symbols of cycles, wholeness, and eternity representing the present.  


Kayla Tange was born in South Korea and adopted at the age of six months by a Japanese-American family in Lemoore, California. After high school, she moved to Los Angeles where her love for photography slowly progressed into a conceptual performance practice where installation and film are sometimes incorporated. Boundaries, displacement, transformation, sexuality, and identity are often recurring themes in her work. Tange has had performances at Coagula Curatorial, Human Resources, Highways Performance Space, New York Burlesque Festival, and Asian Burlesque Extravaganza and performed alongside Ron Athey, Taylor Mac, and Sheree Rose. She is the co-producer of Dear Mother (2017) —a short film about her Korean adoption and relationship to performance. Dear Mother has shown at the Korean American Film Festival in New York, the Asian Pacific Film Festival in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Short Doc Fest, and the Boston Asian American Film Festival.

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