“‘Artist’ as an occupation is no different from other occupations in society,” Yu decrees. He isn’t being snotty or cunning, like some artists in the West who have adopted a purposely impervious attitude towards the art-world game. Rather, his works eschew the tricks and tropes of so many fledglings preening for curatorial success.
Still, a quality of nebulousness and its tightly cranked history in art anchor Yu’s work. Whether in his digital painting The Farm, a riff on Joan Miró’s pastoral self-reflections, or Take the Walk, a two-channel video of 100 artworks, including a Jeff Koons “Balloon Dog”, mashed up into familiar-yet-surreal sterile spaces that appeared in his Antenna show, Yu claims that he still doesn’t place his work in “relationship to Chinese and Western art history.” Take the Walk leads Antenna’s presentation at LISTE, along with a token from Yu’s practice, Ear with Incense, a literal incense holder, fashioned from a life-sized (acrylic) human ear (that, too, made its debut in “Fat Mouse”).