Vita Cushion – Yielding S
Clear-coated plywood, adjustable feet, screws, pegs, chip foam, canvas, wool yarn, cotton yarn, jute yarn
145 x 191 x 324 cm
Courtesy of the artist
Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Installation view of Double Soul, SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022
Photo: Anders Sune Berg
Excerpt from exhibition guide of Double Soul, SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2022
Cushions on furniture-like modular displays constitute Yang’s contemplation on what she found during her site visit to Cornwall in South West England. Yang visited the Church of St Senara in 2019 and was deeply moved by the scenes in the church and the breathtaking coastal landscape. St Senara is equipped with pews that display numerous kneelers – small cushions to kneel on during prayer. Against the backdrop of a majestic ocean, Yang’s focus was particularly directed to the cross-stitched motifs on the top of the kneelers, while the pews appeared as display stands for them. The cushions were neatly embroidered, based on centuries-old handicraft traditions. While the embroidery on pew cushions normally depict solemn religious symbols, Yang found modest yet impassioned expressions on cushions made and donated by local churchgoers. The variety of embroidered depictions included their own house, livestock, pets and natural wonders like an eclipse, somewhat grounded motifs instead of overtly religious ones. They all tellingly described the relationship between people and the rough life next to the coastal landscape.
Arranged to form an X and an S when seen from above, Yang’s sculptures’ plywood structures are made by chopping the lengths and varying their heights such that the kneelers go up and down like a musical score. Abstracted from the church benches, the modular display is now dedicated to deliver the emancipated messages of the kneelers, assigned to ‘world’ and ‘life’. Mundus Cushion refers to ‘eclipse’, ‘tempest’ and ‘climate’ and Vita Cushion includes ‘arson’, ‘man-made’, ‘inferno’, ‘food’, ‘digestion’, ‘comber’ and ‘rhizome’. Suggestive of a communal reflection on the shared concerns of our time, such as the planet’s future and our newfound awareness of astronomy and meteorology, these cushions also evoke the immediacy of the humble anxieties and joys of a sailor’s family.
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