Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jason Yi: Good Instincts, Weird Execution

I found myself connecting with a lot of Jason Yi's art as he showed it during the lecture, but when he started to explain each piece, I became disoriented as he gave it a completely different meaning from what I saw as obvious.

In particular, the video featuring overlaid clips of his parents talking first struck me as a beautiful, stripped down study of the subjects' physicalities when speaking. The way the two figures drifted closer and further from each other in their separate rhythms seemed to abstractly and simply express the nature of human relationships. However, when he started to talk about the video, it was clear that the overlaying of the clips and the visual impact of the piece were secondary to the literal message  his parents were delivering. His explanation about his parents' life stories converging on him was certainly personal and touching, but it seemed like he didn't give as much thought to how to convey that message through the video itself. He spoke of his parents' synchronicity and "oneness," and yet the video seems to force the viewer to contrast the movements and speech patterns of the two subjects. I wonder whether he picked the right manner to deliver his message.

After that, I was most impressed with his works that focused on broad concepts, instead of trying to deliver a specific message or story. His sculpture about the White Snake fable appealed to me because the feeling of impenetrable confusion and chaos is evident in the sculpture, in addition to the PVC pipes actually looking like a white snake. In this piece, his concept and execution seem more closely aligned than in the video project.

I'm starting to believe that in art, it's a greater challenge to try to express a very specific message, and it is often more impactful and creatively fulfilling to focus instead on an abstract concept and allow for varying interpretations by others. I think Jason has done this with his zip-tie installations here, and much of his other installation art, but it seems like he didn't really intend to. I think a lot of his art is interesting and thought-provoking to the viewer, but I don't know if he sees his own work in the same way.

1 comment:

  1. Yesss. This highlights something that I think a lot when listening to people talk about their art or when we have long-winded discussions in art classes: WHY do we have to analyze everything? Why can't we just let it be what it is? Whatever you get from your first impression is enough, we don't need to talk about it any more than that...