Following up on her widely praised commission at The Kitchen earlier this year, Anicka Yi is presenting a new body of work on view at the Kunsthalle Basel, under the title 7,070,430K of Digital Spit. Continuing the artist’s interest in time-sensitive and formally unstable media, the exhibition includes a number of works in various states of destruction and decay, applied here to explore notions of forgetting and memory loss.
At the center of the show is, quite literally, Forgetting, a scent developed in collaboration with a French perfumer that Yi seeks to embody with the intangible sense of loss. This scent is spread throughout the show, a pervasive aura that is also doused over a number of works in the show, almost as if the artist had specifically marked her sites of artistic inquiry. The works here pull from Yi’s ongoing material interest in the organic, the edible and the animal, such as in Maybe She’s Born with It, ALZ/AZN, and Lapidary Tea Slav, a series of large, inflated pods filled with clusters of tempura-fried, resin-covered flowers, a bizarre blend of signifiers that become aggressively pungent as they slowly rot on the vine, an emotionally and physically brusque turn on the work’s initially striking form.
Similarly, and perhaps fittingly for a major early career museum exhibition, 7,070,430K of Digital Spit is also invoked as the title of the artist’s reprinted monograph, on view at the gallery. Printed on delicate, handmade paper, the artist invites any reader to burn the work immediately after reading through it, a quite literal death of the artist’s past work that also releases even more of the Forgetting scent into the gallery space.
Yi’s work here seems fascinated with accounting with the past, but never dwelling too long on it. On top of her irreverent torching of her own history, the work on view is all new, rather than re-hung work from past exhibitions and installations. As a result, the artist pulls not only from her reserves of previous work, but from her own refined skills as an artist, adding new approaches and twists to past formats and installations. Yi seems intent on using the show as a farewell of sorts, a last glance at her collected techniques and approaches before letting them fade into the mists of history, and embracing potentially new modes of working.
7,070,430K of Digital Spit is on view through August 16th, 2015.
— D. Creahan
Anicka Yi: 7,070,430K of Digital Spit [Exhibition Site]