Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jason Yi Reflection

The most interesting aspect of Jason Yi's work to me personally was the spontaneity of some of his work. While Yi's works are intended to make the viewer doubt and question what they are really seeing, many of Yi's works also capture, and sometimes depend on, random or unexpected elements. In his video project, "Fan," Yi's only instruction for his parents on what to say on film was to "tell a story, their life story." So while the filming, editing, and production were all done by Yi, the actual content of his parents' interviews were left entirely up to them, adding a level of unpredictability to his work. Yi spoke about how surprised he was when his parents ended up spending most of their interview focusing on him instead of themselves. That is a powerful thing to capture on camera, and the reason it was effective is because it came about naturally.

This spontaneity in his work is also seen in his photographs from his "Yellow Mountain" series in which he climbed a mountain only to find a thick layer of fog waiting for him at the top. However, this unexpected turn of events lead to some beautiful photographs and a fascinating study of human behavior as he captured people still attempted to take photos of the scenery.
"Yellow Mountain Project 02" (

As for his exhibition work, I'm afraid I have trouble appreciating those pieces as much as I appreciate his digital works. I do, however, like the sentiments he gave as he was nearing the end of his lecture. Yi emphasized that art is about playing, from absentmindedly doodling (at which the woman next to me chuckled and gave me a nudge, as I had been doodling in my notebook throughout the lecture) to works like his. So while the meaning of stacking 40-some chairs on top of one another and then covering it in zip ties and plastic wrap may be somewhat lost on me, I admire his thoughts and creativity.

Piece currently on display in the Wriston Art Gallery at Lawrence (


  1. Your comments on spontaneity and the artistic vision versus how a work actually turns out are very relevant to our class -- because film essentially captures events as they occur, it is difficult to produce a final product exactly like your initial vision for the work, like Jason Yi's "Yellow Mountain" series.

  2. I am so glad you mentioned Jason's film "Fan" I enjoyed that portion immensely and that is probably my favorite thing he talked about during his lecture because as you said, it came naturally! I also felt like the chairs were a bit lost on me. I did make sure to take a snapshot too though because it is hard to describe to someone what forty-something chairs wrapped in red saran wrap can really look like.

  3. His spontaneity is definitely what makes his projects unique. He likes to let things happen and enjoys working on the fly, but the outcome never seems to turn out poorly. They are always pleasant to look at and interesting to think about. Nice review!