Sidelines is a solo show by Chinese-born recent Slade graduate Sun Yi, presenting work from several series created throughout his degree, between 2013 and 2015.
The exhibition comprises 40 works across a broad spectrum of drawing, sculpture, installation and performance – bound conceptually in their origins in the everyday. A free newspaper left on the tube, a bench, a packet of cigarettes, debris, nails, wood, wire and string may be small and insignificant, forming the backdrop of life, but constitute the central component of Sun Yi’s work, running through both the materiality and form of his practice. A highlight of the exhibition is a vast 6x3m canvas, rusted into by the incorporation of recyclable objects and materials donated by major recycling corporation Tianjin Xinneng Renewable Resource Co.
As a young artist from Tianjin, Sun Yi is an important coordinate in the collision between the West and China. Sidelines has been staged as a summary of his artistic creation during his academic career in Britain, and his unique study and pathway gives far-reaching sociological significance to the show – he is a dynamic model of the conflict between tradition and modernity, east and west, usefulness and uselessness, passage and eternity, forwardness and backwardness, lightness and weightiness.
Currently also exhibiting in Wastelands, a group show at OVADA, Oxford, alongside some of China’s best known contemporary artists such as Ai Weiwei and Cao Fei, Sun Yi is swiftly establishing himself as an artist of particular relevance in the international market. Wastelands, aligning eight contemporary artists with strong ties to China, explores the notion of ‘waste’ as a result of consumption through different landscapes and materials, engaging in themes of neo-liberal ideologies, consumption, development and economies of culture. These themes – along with other key concerns of the artist – are manifest furthermore in Sidelines.
14th to 20th September at Candid Arts Trust Space