Johanna Hedva (b. 1984) is a Korean-American writer, artist, musician, and astrologer, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives in Los Angeles and Berlin. Hedva’s practice cooks magic, necromancy, and divination together with mystical states of fury and ecstasy. There is always the body – its radical permeability, dependency, and consociation – but the task is how to eclipse it, how to nebulize it, and how to cope when this inevitably fails. Ultimately, Hedva’s work, no matter the genre, is different kinds of writing, whether it’s words on a page, screaming in a room, or dragging a hand through water.
Hedva is the author of the novel On Hell (2018), which was named one of Dennis Cooper’s favorites of 2018. Their new book, Minerva the Miscarriage of the Brain, documents a decade of work in the form of essays, poems, and performances, and was published in September 2020 by Sming Sming and Wolfman Books. Their first solo exhibition, God Is an Asphyxiating Black Sauce, opened in summer 2020 at Klosterruine Berlin. Their work has been shown at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Institute of Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, Performance Space New York, the LA Architecture and Design Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon.
Hedva has written about the political and mystical capacities of Nine Inch Nails, Sunn O))), and Lightning Bolt; the legacy of Susan Sontag; ancient Greek tragedies; and the revolutionary potential of illness. Their writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, Frieze, The White Review, Art Practical, Ignota, Die Zeit, and is anthologized in Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art. Their essay “Sick Woman Theory,” published in 2016 in Mask, has been translated into six languages, and their activism toward accessibility, as outlined in their »Disability Access Rider,« has been influential across a wide range of fields. Hedva received their BA in design from UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture, and their MFA in art and MA in aesthetics and politics from California Institute of the Arts. They have been a resident at Amplify Berlin, mentored by Pan Daijing, and a fellow with at land’s edge, in Los Angeles, mentored by Fred Moten.
Their EP The Sun and the Moon was released in March 2019; two of its tracks were played on the moon. Their LP, Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House, a doom-metal guitar and voice performance influenced by Korean shamanist ritual, will be released in January 2021 on crystalline morphologies and Sming Sming.