Anicka Yi (born 1971 in Seoul, South Korea) is a conceptual artist who works with fragrances. Anicka lives and works in New York.
Over the past few years, Anicka has been making preternaturally original and intriguing sculptures that she conjures from materials like bacteria, snails, honey, and tempura-fried flowers. Her works include boiling shredded Teva sandals in recalled powdered milk, stretcher frames of soap, and mixtures of stainless steel shower heads and fish-oil pills “arranged into something elegantly allegorical about the various industries that constitute our identity.”
Continuing the artist’s interest in time-sensitive and formally unstable media, the exhibition at Swiss Kunsthalle, Basel, “7,070,430K of Digital Spit”, includes a number of works in various states of destruction and decay, applied here to explore notions of forgetting and memory loss.
The most interesting room features a trio of transparent PVC inflatable pods entitled Maybe She’s Born with It, ALZ/AZN, and Lapidary Tea Slave, which are pumped with air and throbbing ever so slightly, like human parts. At the centre of each sits an amorphous, almost alien-blob form, built from thousands of individually tempura-fried and then resin-fixed flowers.
Interesting, delicate, and curiously enthralling, the works evoke the tempura-battered and then deep-fried flowers of a number of Yi’s previous works in which the romantic connotations of floral arrangements met the abject, as pretty organic matter became greasy, decayed, and progressively pungent. In this piece as in others, the threat of formal and even chemical instability means that the works themselves will never behave like polite, eternally fixed objects.
Artist | Anicka Yi, Seoul, South Korea
Place | Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland
Technical info | Inflatable PVC
Picture credits | Philipp Hänger