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anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

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METASPORE, ANICKA YI’S FIRST SOLO SHOW IN AN ITALIAN INSTITUTION

 

‘I practice philosophy though materials,’ says anicka yi (seoul, 1971; lives and works in new york) as she reflects on her practice following the opening of metaspore, her first solo show in an italian institution and the most comprehensive of her career to date. held at milan’s hangar bicocca from today until july 24, 2022, the exhibition features more than twenty installations — or multifaceted creations — that blend science and art; organic and synthetic; and human and non-human. 

 

with works that date back to 2010, metaspore explores the artist’s sculptural language which often features chemical and biological processes that result in complex ecosystems. ‘usually I’m not comfortable looking backwards, but working in this retrospective made me become a scientist of my own archive.’

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca
images by agostino osio, courtesy the artist and pirelli HangarBicocca, milan

 

THE SHOW SURVEYS MORE THAN A DECADE OF THE ARTIST’S WORK

 

curated by fiammetta griccioli and vicente todolí, metaspore by korean-american artist anicka yi surveys more than a decade of the artist’s work, characterized by the use of perishable and industrial materials in assemblages that defy the inimitable nature of sculpture and installation. cyclical, the pieces challenge both the human timeframe, as well as the exhibition’s. inspired by the biological world, metaspore highlights those cellular units that reproduce and give rise to new living entities without the need for sexual reproduction.

 

this concept is linked to the exhibition, which transforms over time. ‘it is the beginning of a new chapter in yi’s career: the decision to explore works from the past represents a moment of reflection and imagination about future developments in her practice,’ says the official release.

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

 

the exhibition is accessed through a long corridor which takes visitors to anicka yi’s solo show at the kunsthalle basel in 2015. on the sides, a series from sculptures made from glycerin soap and bacteria enclosed in illuminated display cases highlight the ideas of hygiene and contamination. a bacteria-patterned wallpaper adds to the aesthetic qualities of the oeuvre.

 

after passing the corridor, a dark space opens up where the installations give off soft lights, calling visitors to explore deeper. the body, interdependence, ecosystem and symbiosis are some concepts people are invited to confront.

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

 

anicka yi is presenting an expanded and updated version of biologizing the machine (terra incognita), first presented at the 58th venice biennale. commissioned and produced for pirelli HangarBicocca, the artist collaborated with milano-bicocca university in the new version titled biologizing the machine (spillover zoonotica), 2022. continuing with her research on bacteria, the artist shows severn large glass display housing a winogradsky culture. an ecosystem is created locally, combining soil bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae. ‘through cycles of growth, stasis, and decay, the work evolves over time, reacting to the surrounding environment, taking different colors and generating suspended paintings that alter during the exhibition period.’

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

 

focusing on the olfactory dimension is auras, orgasms and nervous peaches, 2011, a piece created for new york’s 47 canal gallery. the installation sees an empty room the size of a jail cell with white tiles and no ceiling, leaking yellow olive oil from the exterior of one of its walls, and hinting at the fluids that enter and exit our bodies.

 

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yi continues examine the human body — respiration and digestion — with skype sweater, 2010/2017. a military parachute laid out on the ground, with fans that move and lift the fabric, creates a billowing undulating form while being delimited by three pedestals. on top of these, sculptures with a translucent viscid quality — a longchamp bag filled with cow entrails and hair gel; a transparent plexiglass display with a mylar enveloped fired in tempura batter; and a rectangular block of glycerin with rubber tubes and razor blades embedded — mimic museum’s exhibitions with unusual components that calls to mind other contemporary artists.

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

 

anticipating crucial ideas such as artificial intelligence and the coexistence of humans and machines, anicka yi’s work is permeated with a sci-fi aesthetic. showcasing seven plexiglass vessels filled with ultrasound gel, shameplex 2015 sees metal pins gradually rust as they come in contact with the glutinous substance. you can call me F, adds another later to the contamination subject with works created in the ebola epidemic context and shown for the first time at the kitchen in new york.

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

 

 

‘anicka yi is a visionary and her work is very current,’ said pirelli group CEO marco tronchetti provera at the press conference. ‘it’s impossible to describe the exhibition, we have to leave it to the personal feelings of visitors. she inspires us to look inside human beings from a different perspective.’

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca

 

recently, anicka yi transformed the tate modern’s turbine hall into a fragrant ecosystem of floating machines. read more on designboom here.

anicka yi brings bacteria to metaspore, a sensorial exhibition at milan's HangarBicocca
anicka yi at the press opening
image © designboom

 

 

exhibition info:

 

name: metaspore
artist: anicka yi
institution: pirelli hangarBicocca
dates: februry 24 – july 24, 2022
location: via chiese 2, milan
curators: fiammetta griccioli and vicente todolí

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