From left to right: W†R§ñK, 2023 and Öþ†KL†L×ñ, 2023 Exhibition view: Anicka Yi, A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2023 / Courtesy the artist, Gladstone Gallery and Esther Schipper, Berlin/Paris/Seoul / Photo © Andrea Rossetti
Anicka Yi: A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam
Sep 15 – Oct 21, 2023
Esther Schipper
Berlin, Germany

Esther Schipper is pleased to announce Anicka Yi’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Entitled A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam, the exhibition features a series of unique animated pod sculptures that pulse and undulate, casting their flickering light across the surfaces of luminous algorithmically-generated paintings. Below this suspended constellation of bio-techno lifeforms, the soft glow of an aqueous ooze – indicative of life’s marine origins – sprawls in a shallow crater in a built up section across the gallery floor.

Anicka Yi has produced a unique body of work over the past decade, that operates at the intersection of politics and macrobiotics. Her practice questions traditional distinctions between what is human, animal, plant, and machine, and is the result of an alchemical process of experimentation that explores often incompatible materials. Yi collaborates with researchers to create materials and media that are often inherently political, delving into the cultural conditioning of sensation and perception in a way she describes as a “biopolitics of the senses.” Yi’s diverse installations draw on scientific concepts and techniques to activate vivid fictional scenarios, asking incisive questions about human psychology and the workings of society.

Informed by a profound understanding of biology and history, A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam continues Yi’s creation of hybrid ecosystems, evolving her notion of the “biologized machine” which she introduced in her critically-acclaimed presentation of kelp pod sculptures at the 58th International Venice Biennale in 2019 and expanded in her recent major solo exhibitions In Love With The World at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2021 and Metaspore at Milan’s Pirelli HangarBicocca in 2022. Featuring semi-autonomous floating machines known as aerobes, which accrued an artificial physical intelligence through their interaction with other machines and with human visitors, In Love With The World attempted to dissolve conventional ideas around cognition. Refuting the human fantasy of a disembodied intelligence and seeking to expand humanity’s capacity for compassion, Yi’s notion of “biologizing the machine” asks: “Can we actively align machines to better reflect our biological reality?”

[ . . . ]

In the darkened exhibition space a sprawling pond-like structure with a reflective surface catches the light of the flickering pod sculptures and creates a vivid mis-en-scène for the elusive, evolving and incandescent ecosystem A Shimmer Through The Quantum Foam forms. Wafting unseen through the air, a fragrance by the French perfumer Barnabé Fillion takes its associations from Yi’s darkly shimmering world to create a custom-made scent.

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