Thursday, October 20, 2011

SOUS-VIDE by Anicka Yi

The first thing I noticed when walking into Anicka Yi’s SOUS-VIDE was the holes in the wall with urine-like liquid slowly pouring down them. The French term SOUS-VIDE means process of cooking food sealed in plastic. The deceiving yellow liquid is really olive oil and gives off an odor throughout the galley. It is inevitable to think of urine, especially with the bathroom like interior installed behind this piece, which can be seen by peering through the holes or walking into the door entrance around the corner. The space is made up of white tiled walls and floors. Once stepping into the room, the viewer realizes that this is not a pristine space, but it sprinkled with dust on the floor. This idea of deception carries into some of the other works as well because of the objects that are placed together.

In another work, Yi uses a vacuum bag to seal pearls and peanuts. By putting these two elements together, food and luxury, the work is about the importance of those objects in relation to each other. It does not seem like they are meant to be together but are forced to since they are tightly squeezed into this vacuum-sealed bag. The peanuts have far more significance over the pearls. The peanuts are meant to live off, and the pearls are used as a materialistic object. The play of colors, pearl and tan, and the shapes of circle and oval create a haphazard pattern throughout the bag. The clusters of peanuts and pearls in certain areas talk about the significance each of these objects hold within the bag. For example, in some sections the peanuts are more spread out than the pearls and in other areas some of the pearls are more isolated than the peanuts. This piece, along with a few others, made me think of commodity versus necessity. There is also a play on gender within this piece because of the opposing roles each object has within the confined space.

To the right of the vacuum-sealed bag is a vibrant red sweater with flowers coming out of the top. This has a similar feel to that of the peanuts and pearls, although not as big of a symbolic gap between the two objects. Within the piece, both are necessities, but in different ways. The sweater could be linked to the pearls in the other piece, whereas the flowers can be linked to the peanuts. The flowers, even though they are dying, have a more glamorous feel to them than the peanuts.

None of the objects Yi puts together compliment each other. With the placement of items, there seems to be something wrong within each sculpture. Although I can tell the artist is discontent with something, the sculptures do not make a clear enough thread to completely analyze it.

Every Woman


  1. You really draw in the reader with your first paragraph. It goes right into describing the most memorable piece in the show. I think you could get away with shortening the first sentence to just the description of the urine-like substance coming out of the wall. You can always explain what the title means later. After this description, I would say a little about the impression this particular piece had on you, since it’s the most notable in the show. You do a great job with describing the two other pieces and including their significance. In the second to last paragraph, there are some fragmenting issues and spelling: ”them then the peanuts”- should be “than”. In the closure, I would say a little more about what felt wrong about the pieces.

  2. I, too, was intrigued by this exhibition when I first saw the name "Sous-vide." I have been seeing this apparently trendy culinary technique pop up over a number of blogs and magazines, and I was immediately interested to see how the artist tied the culinary "sous-vide" to the art world.

    I agree that your review really draws the reader in, the descriptions were great. Also, I think you did a good job at attempting to tie all the pieces together, despite arriving at your "it was a good try" conclusion.