If sculptures could talk…

17 Mar

by Kim Ye

Recently, I took a trip up to Berkeley, California to install my work at the Alphonse Berber Gallery for the Works that Disturb the Moonlight group show. After 5 hours alone in a pick-up with no radio, and 72 hours of manual labor, the 7200 square foot gallery is now home to nearly the entire Autoerotic and Synapses Series. The show is up from February 11th until March 27th, so I guess technically it’s more of a sublet…

In any case, this is the largest number of my pieces that have been under one roof—an exponential increase in population density! For the reception, we had 7 performers modeling 5 worn latex pieces in 2 rooms.


One of the most interesting components of these performances is the interaction between audience and model. I view the reception as a site for observation and experimentation. What happens when art perceives you?

Interestingly, people were much more comfortable interacting with performers that were already coupled up. It seems that 2 already constitutes an environment—taking the pressure off the viewer. Take this guy for example:

If you watch or interact with a couple, or a group, you don’t feel as implicated. When you’re a voyeur of an individual, it’s a much more intimate relationship; you become responsible for the interaction, an equal partner. In their own words:

“The funniest thing about the audience, I thought, was that they would come up to me and poke me sometimes to see what I was made of…or to see if I was real? There was definitely a fusion between impersonal and personal interactions given I was the art that was on display.”—Anahid Modrek (Dress model)

“Some people wouldn’t even look in my direction, others would keep glancing, or if I stared at someone for a long time, they would often stare back. But all of these people would be reluctant to check me out (look me over completely). They would focus on my face. Only if I was looking in the mirrors, would they look at my tentacle boob-arms.” –Hanna Ashcraft (Shirtsleeves model)

“The audience was really respectful, but I was surprised how many people asked to touch my penis tumor. I was even more surprised how many people, after touching the penis tumor started touching me! I wasn’t sure how to react to that so I pretty much did what those Buckingham guardsmen do: stay completely still and emotionless.”—David Hubbard (Shorts model)

Post reception, all the worn pieces were displayed as skins—hung floating in space. At some point during this arduous process, I had a nice little exchange with Crystal Natsuko who blogs about it here.

Special thanks to Cameron Jackson and Jessica Cox, co-directors of Alphonse Berber. Also, thanks to performers Sarah MacLeod, Laine Foreman, Carly Helsaple, Steven Joseph Tritto, Anahid Modrek, Hanna Ashcraft, and David Hubbard.

Photos courtesy of Danielle Lee of AB Gallery.

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