A solo exhibition by Yang Mai:
Curated by David Humphrey
CUE Art Foundation, New York
February 20 – March 25, 2020
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 20, 6-8PM
Exhibition Walk-through with Yang Mai and David Humphrey: Saturday, March 7, 4-5PM
Catalogue essay: “Uniform, Free-form” by Gaby Collins-Fernandez
Will Heinrich, “Which Art Fair Is for You? Let Our Critic Be Your Guide,” The New York Times, February 27, 2020.
"Yang Mai at CUE Art Foundation,” Contemporary Art Daily, March 20, 2020.
Exhibition "Yang Mai: Good Morning, China!（早上好，中国！）", is traveled to ChaShaMa, Mar 3 —
Apr 8, 2021, New York
CUE Art Foundation is pleased to present Good Morning, China! (早上好，中国!), a solo exhibition by Yang Mai, curated by David Humphrey. Mai recycles deadstock business suits, athletic wear, and school uniforms, garments selected by the artist to signify societal roles and systems of control. Drawing upon his experience growing up in Guangzhou, China, where he studied fashion and continues to source his materials from a shuttered clothing factory, Mai reimagines these materials as chains of balloon-like forms or precarious stacks of neatly folded garments impaled with fluorescent tube lights and folding chairs.
In Break-mold (锁链), black blazers are stitched together at the openings of the sleeves and threaded through one another, resulting in a tangled heap of rigid limbs and torsos. Similarly, Where’s Happiness 1 (幸福在哪里 1) interrupts the gallery space with jackets bound together at their openings, stretched into horizontal barricades, and smeared with monotone washes of fluorescent paint. The sculpture, stuffed with spray foam and coated with spray paint in shades of bright yellow, orange, green, and blue, recall masses of bodies stiffened by rigor mortis or linked together to form a human barrier. Meanwhile, sculptures such as UpRise 7 (站起来 7) stand in vertical opposition, constructed from carefully piled polo shirts which have been violently punctured with a metal school chair.
Mai’s sculptures represent the restriction, conformity, and authority that clothing can enforce on its wearer. However, the arrangements of these inflated forms also suggest bodies that are voluntarily entangled with one another, whether in a show of collective resistance or that of a communal gathering. Yet, the hollow appearance of their forms implies another type of resistance: the rejection of their intended use and independence from the human body. In her catalogue essay, Gaby Collins-Fernandez writes, “Mai’s work proposes aesthetics as a means toward radical freedom from the perspective of clothes: liberation from having to be filled by bodies, a refusal to participate in commercial distribution, and the request to be considered on their own terms.”