Galerie du Monde is pleased to present a solo exhibition of multimedia artist Yao Hai (b.1980, Gansu, China), from 30 November 2018 to 7 January 2019. The exhibition explores the self, as an energy unit, and its underlying relationship with selected media. Yao uses different materials such as paper, metal, wood, tape, palm fibers and acrylic sheets, allowing them to interact and communicate. This process is an exploration of the outside world, aiming to understand the single material (the self) from different dimensions. Elaborating on the concept of “deconstruction and reconstruction”, the exploration extends to the artist’s “After Being Opened”, “Reconstruction” and “Pollen” series. Comprised of installations and digital paintings, this exhibition showcases 21 works with many pieces that have never been seen in the public before.
Yao started practicing calligraphy and traditional painting at a young age, and focused on experimental ink painting in the early stage of his career. His practice now spans across installation, photography, sculpture, painting, video, performance and sound. The diversity in the artistic approach and visual presentation between Yao’s earlier and current works reflect the artist’s evolution from “one to zero” and “zero to one” in self-perception and artistic development.
In 2009, Yao began travelling to different countries, in order to achieve a deeper understanding of the outside world. As he gained more exposure, he became skeptical to his perception of the self and the world. Yao lived in New York from 2014 to 2016, and these two years are vital to his development as he started to clarify his doubts and reformed his perception. The concept of “deconstruction” was formed in 2017, where he interpreted the cryptic energy of objects, and reconstituted them in a different form to reveal their most essential properties (“one to zero”). By doing so, he reconstructs and offers his viewers new perspectives (“zero to one”).
The installations featured in this exhibition are inspired by Yao’s early ink and acrylic paintings. He uses digital software to process images of these paintings - the digitally invented morphemes for the paintings are deconstructed in the process, becoming the spatial relationship between lines and geometrics in the installations. The static balance in the paintings, a two-dimensional art form, is once again disrupted, but the lines and geometrics in the installations form a dynamic relationship with rhythm and harmony. This is Yao’s “playful deconstruction” process.
The digital paintings in the “Pollen” series are created based on the still images taken from a performance in Yao’s exhibition in the Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences in March 2018. The artist uses digital software to deconstruct still images. As a result, they form random geometric graphics and he deploys selected rhythmic features found in these processed digital images to reconstruct the composition, turning them into abstract paintings.
The “After Being Opened” series have been renamed in this exhibition because Yao felt that using site and time specific codes to name the artworks would be a better representation of the uncertainties he encounters when he communicates with different types of material. Yao wants to capture the specific moment in which the work was created, hence he renamed the works into codes such as “H11CM”, “Gan 2057” and “4008201665”.