Beijing Commune is pleased to announce the opening of Yu Ji’s first solo exhibition “Black Mountain” at the gallery on May 13th, 2016. The exhibition will continue until June 18th, 2016.
Yu Ji works primarily with sculptures and installations, but also dabbles in performances and videos. In recent years, Yu has been working with natural materials and landscapes, and examining the interplay between physical confrontations, relationships, and feedbacks. Through experiments with a wide variety of methods and a continuous search to cooperate with other artists, Yu searches for an artistic language that is increasingly complex and intersecting.
Ta Jama, shown in the exhibit space, was a series that began in 2012. Yu’s work with construction material is more than a simple reenactment of the shaping of stone; instead she manipulates the innate properties of the material to infinitely approximate the meaning of the form. Corners of Ta Jama are based on leftover pieces from a larger sculpture, whose size was so great that it could not be removed from its then exhibition space in one, and had to be dismembered and otherwise destroyed. Yu took the three remaining corners and amended them with an assortment of materials, to iteratively approach a final concept in her mind through “unending” manipulation. Flesh in Stone – Component? hung on the walls are an extension of her earlier Flesh in Stone series. Made of concrete resting on a metal frame, the pieces resemble broken but physical manifestations of broken pieces of the upper and lower human torso. The pieces’ smooth surface betrays a visible texture; the edge of the cross-section on the torso pieces flare up slightly, a result of the concrete meeting its mold. The naked but indistinct torso appears between the edge of reality and imagination, straggling the boundaries of extended time periods.
Two pieces made out of paraffin, named Black, speak to materials’ uncontrollability through their relatively inarticulate shape, a notion that is reinforced by their simple but uncertain presentation. The visible marks on the floor of the exhibit space are results of the live performance Improvised Decision during the opening ceremony, performed by Yu Ji, Li Bowen, and Nunu Kong. The actions (activities) live on with the remnants of said actions (activities). Yu’s meticulously arranged scene provides for another means to view the performance and access the exhibit. The three performers, during the show, exist in parallel to the pieces in the exhibit; the leftover marks allow them to live on in the exhibit space through a separate dimension.
Resident studies involving sculptures and materials have been a part of Yu’s repertoire since earlier. Pataauw Stone is a video project that came out of a six week resident project in Taipei’s Guandu Village in 2015. The video documents her activities on the Seven Star Mountain in Patauw, as she drags a piece from the Ta Jama series, made in Taipei, onto the mountain. Through the video documentation Yu engages the audience in a dialog about the symbiotic relationship between the artist, the land, her work,
and the natural environment.
The “black” in Black Mountain not only refers to the color of the material in the piece, but also to chaos and the unknown. The “mountain” is spiritual and of the natural world. It refers both to a specific geographical feature as well as the its conceptual twin, that of a deep and long winding object that has fascinated poets for millennia. Black Mountain condenses Yu’s imagination into her inner world into a physical manifestiation, and at the same time showcases her artistic language.
Yu Ji was born in Shanghai in 1985. She attained her M.A. from the Department of Sculpture at Shanghai University Art Academy in 2011, and currently lives and works in Shanghai. Her work has been exhibited at various art institutions around the world, including Palais de Tokyo in France, CAFA Museum in Beijing, Yuz Museum Shanghai, Times Museum Guangzhou, etc. Yu was nominated for the Huayu Youth Award at the fourth Art Sanya in 2015 and will be exhibiting at the 11th Gwangju Biennale in September of 2016. Yu’s diverse interest led to the co-founded of AM Art Space in 2008, which stands as one of the few non-profit independent experimental art spaces active in Shanghai to date.