Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Life is Cheap - Anicka Yi

     Anicka Yi's latest exhibition "Life is Cheap" showcases a unique diorama of tiles containing live bacteria growing in agar medium. This piece is collectively referred to as Force Majeure displayed in a large room setting made to represent a bathhouse or a hospital clinic. The bacteria cultivate generously in agar, therby transforming each tile into an abstract painting. Yi says that bacterial growth has an "aesthetic quality" because it is capable of producing different colors which relate to their function. Some of Yi's previous work focused on olfactory senses, however the smell of bacteria is masked as they are placed behind the glass because Yi admits "That's the hardest part: dealing with people's prejudice and intolerance for what they consider foul odors." I really admire Yi's work because she chose to incorporate two of my favorite things: science and art. I remember making agar plates of various microbes in Microbiology making her artwork very relevant. Her work makes you think outside the box and come to your senses, literally. Yi is trying to make a statement with her art by saying that two most frequently used locations - "the toilet handles and door handles" are filled with bacteria that you probably didn't recognize or put little thought into prior to looking at her exhibit.

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