Our Artist of the Month for May is Chinese artist Yao Hai and his abstract photographs.
Born in Minle, Gansu, China, Yao Hai moved to Hong Kong in 2009 and now lives and works between China and New York.
Working in a variety of mediums, ranging from installation, sculpture, painting, video, performance art, to sound and even photography, Yao Hai’s works are made cohesive by his interest in exploring the self, as an energy unit, and its underlying relationship with selected media.
Yao Hai interprets the cryptic energy of objects, reconstituting them in a different form revealing their most essential properties. In doing so, he offers his viewers a new perspectives and considerations.
His YHPTG series of photographs emphasize his focus on colour, structure, rhythm, visual elements, and music. The colourful photographs of abstracted forms and planes are reminiscent of Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty’s Color Curl and Black Curl series of photograms, in which he exposes photographic paper to different coloured lights.
Most recently, Yao Hai has completed a residency programme, Migrant Birds Residency Program, which was co-organised by United Art Museum and Wuhan Creative Capital. Upon completion, he was given a solo exhibition at United Art Museum entitled ‘Free Play of Destruction’.
The exhibition features acrylic paintings and site-specific installations he created during his residency. For Yao Hai, the Mysterious Garden series is derived from “the ‘corpse’ of his early ink paintings”. Speaking about how he creates them, Yao Hai explains "I used several types of digital software to deconstruct these ‘corpse’ images, which randomly attain new geometric graphics. Thereafter, I deployed some of the rhythmic features I found from these digital images to re-create the composition of the paintings."
Following from this, he created a series of site-specific installations inspired by the Mysterious Garden series, further deconstructing the paintings into lines and geometries that form the MB series; "MB series of installations come from an inspiration when I took a moment to look around my studio whilst I stared at the acrylic paintings, and a white coat stand caught my eyes and inspired me that the digitally invented morphemes for the paintings are hidden in the coat stand."
Yao Hai describes the relationship between the YHPTG and MB series as appearing different, but that both series "come from the same clue – to explore material." Elaborating further, he explains that "YHPTG was created last year after I moved to Wuhan from New York for a year-long residency program organized by K11 Art Foundation. It was an exploration on a single material (the self) - the acrylic sheet and a process to contemplate the outside world through the study of this single material.
In MB, I used different materials such as metal, wood, tape and acrylic sheet and allowed them to interact and communicate. This is an exploration on the outside world aiming to understand the single material (the self) from different dimensions. It is like knowing a person through his/her surroundings."
Deconstruction is clearly a strategy that underpins Yao Hai’s artistic practice. Inspired by the post-structuralist philosophy of Jacques Derrida, Yao Hai constantly revisits his past works to propel his work forward.
See more of Yao Hai's works here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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