Critics’ Picks

Trevor Yeung, Night Mushroom Colon (Seven), 2017, night light, electronic adaptors, 10 x 10 x 8".

Trevor Yeung, Night Mushroom Colon (Seven), 2017, night light, electronic adaptors, 10 x 10 x 8".


Trevor Yeung

Galerie Allen
6 passage Sainte-Avoye
March 14–May 25, 2019

Trevor Yeung is averse to close gallery interactions—at least between people. To discourage them, he contrasts works big enough to hide someone (himself, at openings) with tiny ones visitors must bend down to acknowledge. And just like that, you are left alone, face-to-face with closed-circuit microcosms. Plugged into a socket on floor level, plastic mushrooms rear their heads from a clutter of adapters. Like a child’s night-light, the tiny arborescent structure exudes a soft, multihued glow. Yet the effect discomforts. The useless adapters of Night Mushroom Colon (Four), 2017, indicate a shrinkage of the world we know. From restlessly shifting time zones, we are returned to seeking solace in a decorative decoy. Above, two other works (the bigger ones) add to the feeling of impending—or present—menace that permeates this exhibition, titled “Typhoon No. 9.” One uprooted houseplant hangs midair, brutally strapped to the walls (Suspended Mr. Cuddle, 2019), while another is subjected to the gust of an electrical fan dialed to maximum strength (Mr. Cuddle in the Wind, 2019).

Based in Hong Kong, the Chinese-born artist is no stranger to the severe typhoons that often hit the region. It is, however, less the unleashed elements than the forced confinement they cause that sets the tone for the show. Another work from his “Patient Practice” series, 2011–, makes that clear. Just like the lamp, Patient Practice 6, 2019, showing an intricate motive traced on a wooden surface, serves as a transitional object that provides security from unusual situations. Yeung’s sparse gestures are no formal surprise, dwelling between a global post-Conceptual idiom (Jason Dodge comes to mind) and the recent trend for biotopes (Pierre Huyghe’s multiple epigones). The works, however, are infused with another sensibility. Their tenuous one-to-one address acknowledges how feelings, affects, and emotions still, and increasingly, operate in the lives of modern, rational beings.