Critics’ Picks

View of “Jun Yang: Gallery Show,” 2015.

View of “Jun Yang: Gallery Show,” 2015.


Jun Yang

Galerie Martin Janda
Eschenbachgasse 11
June 10–July 25, 2015

For “The Gallery Show,” Jun Yang presents works from the past fourteen years. Born in China, raised in Austria, and currently residing in Vienna, Taipei, and Yokohama, Yang spent more than a decade between cultures—metaphorically and literally between schnitzel and chop suey. One might describe this condition as being lost in translation, if Yang did not so fruitfully mine the in-between and make it a central theme of his practice.

Exemplary in this regard here are framed posters (Eat Drink Art Business) and a wallpaper piece (Goldenes Zimmer [Golden Room], both 2015). In combination, the two works visualize the moment that defines the artist’s everyday life. Eat Drink Art Business reflects on projects in gastronomy such as the well-loved Viennese restaurant ra’mien, which Yang established with his brother. The red of the two-color print is ultimately counteracted by the yellow of Goldenes Zimmer, a wallpaper with repeating Wiener schnitzel motifs, on which the posters have been hung.

The backstory for Goldenes Zimmer is a myth according to which schnitzel’s breadcrumb coating originally served as a replacement for the expensive gold leaf that was once used to decorate food. The golden-baked dish thus here becomes pattern and ornament—much as the economically quite successful restaurant projects of Yang on the framed posters become decoration and pure surface. The question in this context is not so much what gets lost from and between cultures in translation, but rather, what can one gain through such interpretive achievement?

Translated from German from Diana Reese.