Amongst Dark Trees, A Clearing, Solo Exhibition, Grundy Art Gallery

From Amongst Dark Trees, A Clearing

Opening Saturday 19th Jan 2-5pm

Grundy Art Gallery is delighted to announce a multi-sensory exhibition by Kai-Oi Jay Yung, Amongst Dark Trees, A Clearing.

Through film, the drawings series Auto-Psychometric Suffering Devices (A-PS Devices), a sound responsive light installation Passings, and hand-sewn craft works Mottos In Thread, this exhibition explores uncanny narratives in suffering and loss in relation to our psychological and physiological blockages. In four video works, we encounter voices of conflict and resolution.  From an excessive compulsive hoarder and trauma psychologists in A Plan For Nigel, to a satirical stand up comedian in You Don’t Actually Die. David T. Hyde’s sharp observations are pitted against inner antagonisms in relation to humour and self identity. The meditation savant in Breathe offers a chance for contemplative guided meditation, whilst Events of the Day uses disco lighting to create a mesmerising interpretation of psychotherapy hypnosis. Yung inventively crosses technology with handcraft and interprets various belief systems- from science’s chromatic healing treatments to notions of the unseen and the body’s mystical energy chakras. The artist transforms Grundy into a stimulatory site that triggers sensory interactions with the viewer. They journey through each gallery space’s transitional environments, re-assembling perspectives on alienation and anxiety towards hope and possible inner clearing.

In response to Yung’s call out, the Mottos In Thread are intricate hand-sewn mottos sent in by people of all ages and locations, a collection of fragile, personal self-taught wisdoms sharing commonalities made from pieces of first wedding dresses to sharing intergenerational aphorisms. A 68 year old St Anne’s resident hand stitches ‘Worse Things Happen At Sea’ recollecting ‘boats from the West Indies brought bananas to Preston across the mighty ocean… a beautiful grey horse called Titus chucked its rider and ran off…only to drown as the tide rushed up under the sand.” Yung offers a chance to revisit lost skills and stories whilst paying homage to similar testimonial acts produced by Holocaust victims as an outlet for the atrocities experienced.

Interspersed through the galleries are intimate personal tasks- Line Action Station allows viewers to make simple line drawings of their most vivid memories to be projected onto the gallery wall. These connect to the artist’s own Auto-Psychometric Suffering Devices series, drawings depicting imagined contraptions for self-hypnosis and cure from mental and physical distress. Fragile, cumbersome yet comedic in their impossibility- can the floppy handless glove of A-PS Device Vi Perception Slicer permeate the episodic buffer and unblock memory? A bodily drip composed of an organ and Chinese Konghou strings in A-PS Device Vii String Dialysis Pointer connects the patient’s body to a rotating disc whilst heating bodily fluids to measure thanatophobia (fear of death) syndrome levels…

In the ‘clearing’ of the main gallery space, we hear 7 Circles played intermittently; a collective sound piece composed from public recordings sent to Yung of the monosyllabic sanscrit sounds- ohm, yam, ram, lam… each linked to seven bodily chakras and believed to purify body and mind. The public is invited to add their own harmonies and interplay with this sound piece to create a live harmonic mantra that pervades the gallery. From a semi-concealed confession booth, the viewer intimately shares their inner thoughts and emotions, activating a microphone that transforms and amplifies their sounds. Unexpectedly, they trigger a visual display of neon-coloured light rays and patterns unexpectedly immersing fellow viewers in ambient warm light tones. This interactive sound-light installation, Passings, together with the ever-changing soundscape of 7 Circles allow sounds and visuals to resonate through the gallery and offers a space of sensory absorption and playful solace.

Amongst Dark Trees, A Clearing progresses the artist’s ongoing investigations into examining blockages within the individual and collective psychological and physiological experience of identity developed in previous performances as Military Craft, China and installation Interval; A Narrative Psychosis.

Yung says “I am interested in conflict sites, ruptures in our psychogenic make-up and this show investigates how our suffering and conflict exacerbates and manifests in our daily living. In editing and making, I can dissect and reassemble meaning, introduce new characters and empower others with narratives to manipulate their own endings, realities and truths. This way I can offer alternative belief systems to exercise our fears, desires and life’s complexities.”

Clinical psychologists featuring in the show and panel discussions include Helen CairdNo human state is static- one isn’t ‘depressed’ or ‘traumatised’ more accurate we ‘deal with trauma”. Laura Kemmis says “Jay’s multi-sensory and interactive work awakens the viewer’s senses- to take notice of their experiences. Her concepts draw parallels with mindfulness, an increasingly widespread psychological practice”.

Kerry Vasiliou, Grundy Art Gallery says, ‘We are delighted to be working on this exciting exhibition. Jay has devised a powerful and intriguing exploration of our psyche asking the viewer to consider what gives you hope and involving many others far and wide in the process.’

Amongst Dark Trees, A Clearing is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

See Images of works

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On Suffering essay

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Gallery Guide

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