London based artist, Yifan He, produces installation works that explore the concept of remediation and displacement. Yifan has studied Animation (minor in Visual Study) at California College of the Arts. She obtains a BA(Hons) Sculpture degree from University of Arts London and received a minor in Arts and Interaction during her Erasmus exchange at Avans University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands. Most recently, Yifan was admitted to the MA Fine Art program at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL.
Born in Shanghai, the constant experience of alienation inspires Yifan to reassemble and rearrange materials such as found objects, data arrays, and video clips. Her research-based practice critically engages with subjects such as semiotics and technology. Her practice comprises not only of sculpture and painting, but also coding, media editing, creative and critical writing, and curating.
Yifan has been featured on the magazine ACCESS Special 2018 for winning the 2018 GAMMA Young Artist Competition as Young Artist of the Year. As one of the shortlisted artists, she is included in the Social Art Award Book, 2020, published by the Institute for Art and Innovation e.V.
In January 2020, Yifan had her solo exhibition ‘Some Words’ at Camberwell College of the Arts library. In 2019, Yifan was commissioned to create an interactive installation for ‘Social Works?: Live’ at Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester. Later this year she will once-again exhibit at Affordable Art Fair with her installation Type-writer-Analogue. Other exhibitions she participated in include ‘States of Minds’ (guest curator and exhibiting artist) at Free Range Gallery (London), ‘Inter Course’ at Temporary Art Center (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), and ‘2018 International Invited Exhibition’ at Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea). Many of Yifan’s works have been selected to be represented by Made in Arts London.
Writing being an important part of her engagement in Art, from 2016 to 2020, Yifan contributed to several publications including Decolonising the Arts Curriculum (currently collected in Tate Archive), Zine: The power of language and communication, and Unsettled Magazine. Several of her works that concerns language and many of her reflective writings are published on Shades of Noir website.
My practice comprises coding, object-making, editing, and performing. I produce mixed-media installations that hack the common way individuals perform through everyday objects and activities. The works disrupt the normalised syntax for global citizens’ lives, which, in consumeristically saturated designs and technologies, are often read as being purposeful, progressive, meaningful, and entertaining. Instead, my works recognise the uncertainty and multiplicity of realities unfurled in various ideological fantasies. Informed by my cross-cultural experiences, I explore the arbitrariness of the way we address and define lived experiences, of which the political is always inextricably mingled with the personal.
There are disquieting aesthetics inherent in my works, fuelled by the gestural displacements of mundane objects and poeticised actualisations of everyday rituals. I recast, rearrange, and reconfigure materials such as electrical appliances, discarded pieces of furniture, and family event recordings, into clusters of cause and effect circuits. Spectators may find electric cords dangling, video projections overlapping, computer-programmed models flowing chaotically on the screen, dodging the cursor, performance scripts laying on a dinner table, and poems self-generating and overlapping into an unreadable blur. Through such a multidisciplinary approach, the works address audiences as users, who dwell nostalgically in the cross space between the physical and the virtual. The materials, unsettled in site-specific physical narratives, manifest a sense of prolonged anxiety and ennui in their constructive messiness.
Inheriting the core tenets from the Fluxus and Conceptual Art practices, the methodology of my work is linguistic. In addressing, at the same time, the Fluxus’ instructive use of language and Conceptualists’ semiotic interplays of ideas, my practice is situated between the participatory arrangements and the gestural interventions. The installations, at their grandest, are forced material poetry of which the meaning can never bypass the formality.