Virgile Ittah and Kai Yoda: Walking on the Beach Imitating Sand at Hus Gallery
In their second collaboration to date, former Royal College of Art students Virgile Ittah and Kai Yoda showcase an installation of sculptures, objects and hanging pieces at London’s Hus Gallery.
The opening reception of Walking on the Beach Imitating Sand is an intimate affair, which is probably for the best as it would be a struggle to fit more than 20 people into Hus without someone slipping on a canapé or knocking down a bust. While it is by no means flooded with art, it nevertheless feels crowded, as though there is insufficient space to absorb the message.
The message, of course, is open to interpretation. The first thing you notice is Ittah’s coloured wax figures. Some are more abstract than others, although they all have echoes of the human body. By far the most impressive sculpture is the full-scale, multi-coloured wax figure which hides at the back of the room behind brightly lit layers of semi-transparent hanging cloth. There are also the pieces on the floor: low, flat, not quite circular, grey-black silicone “blobs” that look almost like reverse puddles that are begging to be trodden on.
Interspersed with Ittah’s sculptures are Yoda’s hanging pieces. Thick rope dangles from the ceiling suspending a horizontal, cylinder-shaped hunk of flesh-coloured silicone. Viewers are invited to touch the art, and when they do it sways gently.
When describing their work, Ittah and Yoda cite their muddled, hybrid backgrounds. Ittah was born in France but is of Jewish-North African descent and Yoda is half Japanese and half Swedish, although he has spent a lot of time in English-speaking countries. They explain that this has resulted in a feeling of dislocation and constant flux, of belonging everywhere and nowhere at once. Their exhibition is an attempt to create ‘’a new homeland’’, one that can be transported and that adapts to the experiences and narratives of whoever chooses to visit.
This exhibition is by no means homely or particularly accessible. The abstract certainly aids in explaining the works, but for the average Joe or London blow-in, Hus should not be top of the to do list.
Walking on the Beach Imitating Sand is at Hus Gallery from 20th January until 21th February 2015, for further information visit here.
For Virgile Ittah visit here.
For Kai Yoda visit here.