“In Case” He Yida solo show text

He Yida solo show

C-Space, Beijing

9 March 2013

The works in this show have come about through a steady process of placement and refinement by He Yida. The final installations project a feeling of extreme intention in the experience of their arrangements.

The process of the work moves from the selection of material, their arrangements in relation to each other, and their positioning with respect to the spaces. Overall there is an emphasis on the works’ relationship with the floor (rather than a hanging relationship with the wall or ceiling), as they spread out along that plane, or rise up from it. The effect is of a sense of flatness in the planes and tenuousness in the upright structures. The elements of the structures are ready-made for other purposes, variously adjusted with painted additions. Each material adjusts the effect of the other materials they are placed in a relationship with: the hardness of the metal bar stands in contrast to the softness of the elastic strip that is wrapped around it; this wrapping conceals and reveals various parts, playing the materials off each other, changing the perception of the materials and their arrangements as they are viewed from different angles.

The works can be seen to pick up on Minimalism’s experiments in form, and with the “anti-form” reactions to the hard geometries of Minimalism – Donald Judd’s metal boxes with coloured plexiglass inserts an example of the former, and Robert Morris’ felt works, for the latter. The simple forms of Judd’s “specific objects” asserted themselves in the spaces in which they were placed; Morris’ cut sections of felt hung loosely from the wall, their forms not dictated but an expression of gravity on the dense material.

He Yida’s own works clearly follow a trajectory from these historical developments into forms of site specificity, the intervention and critique of spaces that became subsumed and formalised as institutional critique (Daniel Buren’s striped inserts into spaces come to mind). Her works reflect an understanding of all these historical developments as well as their consequences, placing the entropic fall of softness against rigidity of form, the insertion of material into space, and its relation to space in material, form and meaning. These are seemingly fragile, ephemeral anti-structures, which play arrangements of the materials against their interactions with the spaces; playing the “natural” forms that the materials take under their own and external forces (gravity, entropy) with the adaptation of those materials and forms in the service of the artist.

In He Yida’s work Buren’s critique of institutional architecture becomes a more flexible and subtle activity. In her recent work Leg In (2012) the materials are sourced from shop display manufacturers, and so the work reflects forms and structures from this commercial context – the materials might be said to retain a residue of their original functions. However this original function is not directly referenced in her works, nor worked through as a reason for their being. Her structures divert this function into new meanings based on their current location in the gallery.

As the artist places and arranges the works, they become specific to their surroundings as interventions as well as reactions to the properties of the spaces.

The odd angle of one wall in C-Space’s gallery is addressed by leaning a length of wood against it. This is, in turn, balanced by a smaller piece, made up of a shorter wood baton, its ends connected by a snaking length of black rubber tubing. This is not about presenting the objects as they are, or their uses, in a new context, thereby making them strange through that shift. The objects do not remain as they are, but are manipulated to adjust their forms and relationships. This, in some senses, uses the materials and forms against themselves. Fabric strips hang from bars, but the fall of the material is interrupted by being stitched, hoisting lengths up into loops; or they are pulled to the floor by heavy metal rings pinching the material at its base.

The combination of materials of differing qualities, the arrangement of works of differing qualities, the spaces they occupy in relation to each other, all these aspects are significant to the experience of the exhibition. No work stands alone, and no work is the whole work. In this balance of internal and external forces the resulting piece represents the cusp between the two, a creative reflection on space and its effects.

To try and rationalise the activity going on here: the works act as interventions into their spaces, but also exist in the reverse direction as the space impinges on the works. The works contribute and at the same time react to those spaces. In a third movement, the presence of the body acts as a subsequent element in this interplay of space and work. It can be said that the work exists both in the movement outwards of its interposing of itself into the space, as well as its movement inwards of the space’s effects on the work. One can also speak of the space in a similar fashion, as having a movement outwards (which corresponds to the work’s movement inwards) and a movement inwards (corresponding to the work’s movement outwards). In a similar way, the body has its own set of movements in relation to the work and the space. This makes for a 6-fold set of movements of the work, the space, and the body.

This interplay of contribution and reaction is what creates a tension in the work in the link between work and the viewer as they are present in the spaces, and as they experience the pieces. This presence marks the viewer as part of the experience of the piece, completing the works’ work by adding the experience to the list of effects of the work – in this case in the personal space which moves through the institutional and architectural spaces that the work exists within. Each node of this set of movements depends on the others for an understanding of the whole. The work is but one part, and meaning is understood as the whole system.

Author: Edward Sanderson





作品产生的过程包括对材料的选择、材料元素之间的相互位置关系以及它们根据空间情况的定位。总体上作品与地面的关系相对凸显(而不是与墙壁或者天花板的悬垂关系), 这一点可以从 作品沿着平面铺展开,或者沿着平面上升之中看出来。这使得她的作品具有一种平面之上的平整度和垂直结构上的稀薄性。这些结构中的诸多元素是为了其他功用服务的现有材料,并根据已着色的附加之物进行各种调整。各个材料都调整着与其相联系的其他材料之间的关系:金属棒的硬度正好相对于包裹着它的松紧带。这种“包裹”既掩盖又展示了金属棒的不同部分,它能让两种材料互相作用,当从不同角度的去观看时,能改变观众对材料及其布局的理解。



在作品中,那种对体制架构的布伦式批判变得更加灵活和微妙。在何意达的近作Leg In(2012)中,其元素来源均源自商店里的展示制造物,于是整个作品都传达出某种商业语境之下的形式与结构—也可以说那些材料仍然保留了其一部分原始功用。然而,那种原始功用都没有直接在这一作品中体现出来,也不构成作品存在的原因。她作品的结构偏离了原来的功能,进入到基于画廊当前位置的崭新意义中去了。


C空间的一面墙壁有着奇怪的夹角,这个特色用一根木头抵住的方式展现了出来。而它的平衡又被另一根更小的木棒所维持着,在小木棒的末端,连接着一段黑色的蛇形橡胶管。这并不是为了呈现出物体自身或者其用途,因为在新的语境下这种转换使物体变得怪异。物体无法保持自身,而是在艺术家的操控下改变了自己的形式与相互关系。这在某种程度上使材料和形式对立于其自身。有的布条垂挂在木棒之上,但因为这些布条又与木棒缝合,并被悬挂在一定高度穿过圆环,所以它们无法坠落于地;或者在另一些布条底部压上重的金属环,使其被拖拽到地面之上。(Leg In1)



这种促进和抵制间的作用和反作用会使观众和作品之间的关系产生一种张力: 当观众来到空间里,同时体验着那些作品。 这种到场标志着观者成为体验作品过程的一部分,通过把此种体验融入到作品产生的一系列效果之中,它最终使作品的目的得以达成——这样,作品就存在于进入了机制性空间和建筑学空间的个人空间内。 要理解整个运动过程,就必须明白一组运动中的每一个节点都取决于另一组运动。就此,作品仅仅是它自身的一部分,而意义却必须从总体上才能把握。


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“In Case” He Yida solo show text by escdotdot is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International