Interval; A Narrative Psychosis, Cornerhouse

‘Interval; A Narrative Psychosis’

Solo show, Cornerhouse, UK

Private View: Friday 10th December 2010

Opens: 11 December- 16 January 2011

Yung’s practice, the lyrical, delicate and powerful chronicle, is embedded in the technological and its relationship to Bourriaud’s altermodern and examination of artist function. She evokes Menken: “…one of the first filmmakers to improvise with a camera and edit while shooting. She filmed with her … entire nervous system… how she constructed the film in tiny pieces and through the movement… she gave us a new beginning… away from classic filmmaking and into a new adventure.” –   Alex Hetherington

Jay Yung’s exhibition has stayed with me and I find myself, surprisingly, remembering snippets of her films and details of the work… the tiny fragments of fabric, the embroidery and hanging dress- the very odd and unsettling gun pointed upwards- all of this coming together to heighten the oddness, the rather sinister elements of the sculptural setting… I found the work to be original and ultimately strong. -Judith King

Main room

Interval: A Narrative Psychosis is, a multi-channelled video installation by artist Kai-Oi Jay Yung which includes over 11 films, Amnesia; A Rehearsal (2010) and Sarah Winchester; A Mystery House (2010) a series of monochrome photographs and sculptures, including a double barrelled rifle.

The research surrounding the exhibition has taken Yung to specific people and places across continents, including Hong Kong, California- San Francisco to Palm Springs and Sherborne. From a physiognomist to Alice in Wonderland, her own grandmother to a former Alcatraz inmate, the people Yung invites us to encounter in her videos chart the artist’s own migratory exploration of identity and culture. Both fiction and crossing documentary, the installation encourages us to make sense of our individual personal histories through an understanding of place and belief systems.

During a residency undertaken by Yung in Sherborne (January – 2010) Yung was compelled to revisit the the 19th Century figure Sarah Winchester, heiress of the first repeating double-barrel rifle.  Yung’s interview with the director of ‘The Sarah Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, 2008, reveals  Sarah’s personal tragedy, which led to a life of occult fixation manifested in séances and 38 years of incessant construction of a million dollar labyrinth like mansion. Fusing multiple characters, Yung enacts a restaging of the Winchester story, drawing on the mythology surrounding Sarah Winchester with pre-scripted and improvised reconstructions in conjunction with musicians… a harpist, organist…to staff from The Jane Austen Centre, Bath.

Taking the themes emerging from the resulting film ‘Amnesia; A Rehearsal’, Yung distills and sequences over 60 hours of research footage into the categories of Love, Architecture, Present, Death, Incantation and Journey. Alongside accompanying videos New World, Cable High and Traces, objects and a series of photographs, this exhibition questions our perceptions of fiction and the real; the fragility of any spiritual truth.

A series of 9 photographs in an edition of 5. Monochrome prints on Kentridge photographic paper.

544mm x 640mm Cold-bond mount in white plaster coated red pine frames. 

‘Address 1′ & Address 2’

‘Address 2’ from ‘Amnesia’ framed monochrome photographic editions

‘Amnesia’ from the ‘Amnesia’ framed monochrome photographic editions

‘Scene’ from the ‘Amnesia’ framed monochrome photographic editions


Amnesia; A Rehearsal


‘New World’


Exhibition Video Documentation

Film Excerpts

Kai-Oi Jay Yung ‘Amnesia: A Rehearsal’,  31 seconds excerpt from 29 minutes

‘Amnesia: A Rehearsal’ is a psychological anti-narrative based on the intertwined biographies of Sarah Winchester, Jane Austen and chance internal crossings of the artist herself with Marigold Verity, a harpist in Sherborne. In 2007, as part of a wider research trip across Hong Kong and California, Yung journeyed to San Jose to interview Shozo Kagoshima, director of the million-dollar labyrinth mansion; the Winchester Mystery House. Three years later, the compulsion to revisit the figure of Sarah Winchester and a tortured existence consumed by séances and never ending construction repeats itself through Yung’s own memory and need to re-enact an unresolved history. Combining script, performance and undirected improvisation, what results is an unsuspecting part fiction-documentary that sequences the coincidence biographical accounts of collaborators/protagonists themselves. The timeline detects the hidden psychosis looping time, place and multiple voices; surfacing permutations between the real and unseen that resonates our daily living.

Kai-Oi Jay Yung ‘Sarah Winchester; A Mystery House’ excerpt

This documentary allows insight into the extraordinary life of Sarah Winchester, heiress of the double-barrel rifle magnate William Winchester and the curse of his multi-million legacy that was to consume her entire existence. Filmed in San Jose at the gargantuan labyrinth mansion, Yung interviews long-standing director Shozo Kagoshima and is granted access behind tourist showcase to share personal accounts from staff as they divulge the parts and pieces of a life directed by séances and 38 year endless construction. Fact and fiction merge; we are left to consider the internal workings of a tortured figure dripping in blood money, and the nature of her hauntings; whether from psychosis or inexplicable paranormal occurrence. 

Kai-Oi Jay Yung ‘Traces’ excerpt, 21 seconds from 3 minutes 59 seconds

‘New World’ contemplates man’s hopes and aspirations pitted against reality and our limitations. The red curtain and costumed Alice showcase a journey about to begin; dreamy lyrics offer hope of “a whole new world’ as we glide across the South China Sea and scan the hopeful faces on an Ocean Park escalator. We are reminded of the impermanence of such elation with the constant backdrop of themed Disneyland and a young boy’s inability to separate the obvious gap between what is real and artificial.

Kai-Oi Jay Yung ‘New World’ excerpt, 51 seconds from 6 minutes 54 seconds

‘Traces’ delves into the intent behind prevalent Buddhist philosophy and those powerful icons emblematic of its teachings, questioning this growing belief system through three shorts. A coin drops into a slot to trigger a montage of rolling hills in harmony with the silhouetted contours of the great Po Lin Buddha. The alchemy of stark colours and symbols enable meditative contemplation, yet tone alters as viewer find themselves physically guided inside a mysterious hall, onlookers to ceremonial chanting. Momentum hastens as images of Buddhist paraphernalia offered in exchange for inner peace and security accompanies a subdued, sonorous tempo.

For wider context the video was initially created, see gallery guide

Kai-Oi Jay Yung ‘Feng Shui Labyrinth’ excerpt, 51 seconds from 2 minutes

Kai-Oi Jay Yung ‘Death’ excerpt, 48 seconds from 16 minutes 43 seconds

‘Death’ reveals the unspoken and fragile aspects of our mortality. A Chinatown barber communicates his personal experience of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and Darwin Koon shares his tale as former Alcatraz inmate and failed escape attempts. Meanwhile, the artist is forced to confront a personal reality as she accidentally overhears her grandmother relay details of her will.

Essay by Alex Hetherington

Read an essay on the theory, inspirations and processes behind my current solo exhibition which involves eleven new films that cross documentary and fiction, a series of monochrome photographs, and sculptural objects here ‘On ‘Interval; A Narrative Psychosis’ by Alex Hetherington

Guardian Feature, 18 December 2010

Gallery Guide

Audio interview:

Part 1/2

Part 2/2

On ‘Interval; A Narrative Psychosis’: Harold Offeh explores my exhibition

More reviews by Annie Harrison, Taneesha Ahmed, Emily Speed click HERE


Exhibition Talk & Audience Q &As


Join artist Kai-Oi Jay Yung for an informal introductory tour of Interval; A Narrative Psychosis, discussing the themes and motivations surrounding Yung’s work.

Workshop/Exploring Narratives


Join artist Kai-Oi Jay Yung for an exploration of Interval; A Narrative Psychosis. Participants will be invited to use different creative approaches to consider the narrative themes running through the sculptural, photographic and video works in the exhibition and how this relates to their own personal experience and memories.

Exhibition Stills

Click for slideshow: Solo Exhibtion ‘Interval; A Narrative Psychosis’


Click Image For Slideshow: Opening ‘Interval ; A Narrative Psychosis’

Viewers at the Exhibition

Click image for slideshow: Viewers at ‘Interval; A Narrative Psychosis’

Installing the show

Click to view Slide Album: Installing ‘Interval; A Narrative Psychosis’

More Behind the Scenes images