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Label: anicka yi

Friday 10th July 2015Artist Spotlight: Anicka Yi

Artistic media cover almost the full range of materials available to humanity, but they do seem to usually be restricted to things which can be seen or heard. Any type of tangible material is inherently able to be either seen or touched by the "viewer" (for lack of a better term), but artists are not typically known for their conventional thinking. Anicka Yi is just such an artist, and she's rejected the typical materials that are part of the artist's toolkit, choosing instead to work primarily in the deliciously ephemeral medium of scents.

Naturally, her works lean towards the conceptual, as is almost required when working with something so insubstantial, but her latest piece is almost closer to performance art than anything else. Entitled "7,070,430K of Digital Spit", it is located in the Kunsthalle Basel gallery, in the world-famous Basel, Switzerland, home of the Art Basel art fair that has recently taken the world by storm.

There is a scent at the core of the piece, which has been infused throughout the pages of a book of transcribed conversations with Yi on a number of related topics, as well as essays by a number of other artists in the same vein. The scent was created specifically for the exhibit by Barnabe Fillion, entitled Aliens and Alzheimer's, and you'll have to swing by the exhibit yourself to really get a sense of how it smells. The book is suspended above a flame in a white-tiled alcove, slowly burning itself to ash, and dissipating the scent throughout the surrounding area.

Speaking with Interview magazine recently, Yi best exemplified her views about the essential nature of olfactory experience: "I’ve always maintained that when you’re on death row, you should get last scents or last sounds, the same way you get last meals.” When asked what it was she'd actually like to smell, however, the results are not likely to be to everyone's taste: "Something unpopular, like a human armpit, or maybe scalp, mixed with something a little bit spicy." Probably not what we'd choose, but still a testament to her feeling.

A number of her other pieces are also on display in the Kunsthalle Basel gallery, so if conceptual, ephemeral beauty is your particular cup of tea, be sure to swing by and check it out - it literally won't last forever.
 

Posted on July 10th 2015 on 03:08pm
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