Yu Ji

Exhibition Walkthrough

Yu Ji studio interview

Against Shadows / 无视阴影

In this video, Yu Ji discusses her artistic process and the concepts explored in the works in her latest exhibition Against Shadows at the Davies Street gallery. Spanning video, sculpture, photography and installation, the works examines notions of the body, materiality and the capacity for spatial encounters with our surroundings. 


Video: © Yu Ji, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Videography: Yip Kwongyu, Lidija Kononenko and Dominique Croshaw


Yu Ji

Against Shadows

Against Shadows, 2021, is a recent video work by Yu Ji, that combines footage drawn from two performances: HALF PEEL HALF PULP, a performance and reading she undertook while in residence at Sa Sa Art Projects, Phnom Penh in 2017, and Spontaneous Decisions II, conducted by the artist over a six-day period to initiate her commission for the Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum Project, Shanghai in April 2021.
In Against Shadows, Yu Ji mediates the evolving processes of physical and temporal action, and their context in relationship to plastic art forms. Mirroring her ongoing investigation of the specificity of our environments, the body and the emotional and physical nuances of their interactions, Yu Ji recalibrates these live actions and collaborative exchanges in a montage of specific instances, gestures and material tensions. In its prelude, the artist is viewed in close-up, cutting, peeling and shelling the seeds of a jackfruit. Methodical and precise, her actions are wholly present and concurrently a transitory reflection of a past event.
In the latter part of the work, filmed in 2021, Yu Ji is seen within a makeshift studio space, a semi-opaque structure inside Gallery 0 at West Bund. Over the course of six days she presented a durational collaborative performance, alongside her friends, artists Yan Jun, Wu Meng and Chen Zhou. Each artist activates the space through planned and improvisatory interactions; sonic, gestural, spoken, and plastic elements coalesce. Through this partially revealed scenography Yu Ji created a site of encounter, inviting the viewer to reflect upon the studio as a site of recurring activity and ritualistic process; as well as an environment of the everyday (she is intermittently shown conversing with her collaborators and resting). At the end of the live performance, the structure was vacated, the sediments of activity remaining as a site-specific container of atmospheric tensions, past and present. Likewise, the film renders a fragmentary view, calling into question concepts of experience and duration. Of this Yu Ji has stated: I am really trying to deal with these topics about: the time, about the present, or about the past, and finished or unfinished, and when is the end of the material… or we can say life?
Yu Ji’s solo exhibition Against Shadows / 无视阴影, is on view at the Davies Street gallery until Saturday 05 March 2022. Find out more about the exhibition here.Artwork details: Yu Ji, Against Shadows, 2021. 4K video, stereo sound. duration: 10 minutes 47 seconds. © Yu Ji, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Yu Ji
Against Shadows

Exhibition Walkthrough

20 January - 5 March 2022

1 Davies Street W1


Videography: Dominique Croshaw and Lidija Kononenko

© Sadie Coles HQ, London