• Li An Li

YY Exhibtion

This week saw my work displayed at YY Exhibition in Crystal Palace. It initially seemed an odd event. There was no open call, no official email. All contact was through Instagram. The curator Chara had attended our South Molton Show, Unsettling Focus.

I arrived to find the space was what felt like a girl guide's hut at the end of an alley of brick a brac. The roof joists were supported by scaffolding, the ceiling was corrugated metal with insulation but not ply over it; even the internal doors and windows did not match. I was shown over to my section of scaffolding. I took a moment. I had two vertical and two diagonal scaffolding poles. But yet I had 6 frames and 12 small images and one very long concertina book to mount on a wall. I was stunned, however, I remembered a talk given by our tutor that we will encounter a much different space in which to curate. I then approached it like a project and the ideas and creative ways to display the work kicked in! It started to become fun and enjoyable and at that moment I fell professional. Since in my mind I feel that professionals can work with anything. It turned out my little images were magnetic so they hung on the poles well. The frames could be tied with wire and the concertina book I draped over the ceiling joists. It was interesting. I discovered that the room was used as flea market usually at the weekends and some mirrors had been left over. I used the mirrors to play on this idea of reflection and to create little pockets of discovery for the viewer.

I was informed Saturday morning that artists were invited to give a talk and so with my children, we rushed up to London and I had the most wonderful experience of presenting to a live crowd. There must have been about 30 people all giving time to listen to what my work was about. There were several who came up afterward and I was able to have a deep conversation about the work and see their viewpoint. One visitor pointed out a geometrical pattern within the work that I had not noticed before. Another brought with him his past work against injustice and could see how the independence-encouraging-environments made a difference.

The event was a huge success and it had a constant flow of people across the three days. The curators were ex-marketing and had publicized it well. I am looking forward to the next event.

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