Yage Guo: The Moth Disturbs The Night

Yage Guo was born in Inner Mongolia in 1998 and raised in Shanghai. She currently lives and works in London. Between 2017-2022, she studied at Slade School of Fine Art in the UK, where she completed her undergraduate and master’s study. Guo’s practice includes oil painting, printmaking, book making and pencil drawing. With a sensual and poetic approach to painting, she often depicts fantasy, narrative and memory, exploring themes of non-dualism, belonging and personal emotions. So far, Guo has participated in many exhibitions, both in galleries and non-commercial spaces across several countries. Some recent exhibitions include: Eat Drink Man Woman, The 180 Strand; What Now? PM/AM Gallery, London; EYES, DUSK, PHANTASMAGORIA, Rupture XIBIT, London, A/D D/A, ZERUI Gallery, London; ASSEMBLE, V.O.Curation, London; XENOS, Universe Gallery, London; Pathways on Paper, South Parade, London, Knocking it out of the Park, Gallery 46, London, Folie à Deux, Haus Gallery, London, Decent Gaming, Linseed Gallery, Shanghai and etc. She was awarded the Mary Rischgitz Prize in 2022. Meanwhile, her work has been held in the Simon Nixon Collection.

Yage Guo has received widespread attention from her recent graduation show,where she introduced a full storytelling atmosphere in her presentation. She exhibited 9 oil paintings and a handmade book combining 27 pencil drawings. The title of the show was The Moth Disturbs The Night and the theme was set in the context of night time. That is a period of time when people’s willpower became lax after sunset. It opened up more space for wandering and introspection. Throughout the time flowing across the evening, nightfall, late night and dawn, the emotions fluctuated between nostalgia, loneliness, bitterness and hope. Different things were ongoing at the same time under the same moon. Guo visualised the imagination and emotions were in figurations, a sort of apparitions wondering around on canvases and papers.

Moth has inspired the creation of Yage Guo’s show. Its first appearance was in the painting Victoria Time Hat – inspired by Guo’s sensational engagement with a Victorian hat at an antique sale. The hat was displayed desolately. From Guo’s perspective, she felt no desire to wear it, but surmised its experience with its former owner. Through the long passing time, the moths have been the only visitors who recognised the redundant hat. Only when the moths’ birth marks damaged the hat, the existence of the old hat got reminded, and thus it received some care from the owner. The mark of moth almost became a symbol of sympathy. Year after year, the moth’s life is like an apostle of time: it is silently born in an inconspicuous corner, leaves its mark on the fabric and then passes away quietly. Its cycle of life seems to be a kind of reincarnation. And its self-fling into the light metaphorically presented a kind of acceptance of its destiny. These elements coincide with the themes that preoccupy Guo’s creations.

While working as an independent artist, Yage Guo also participated in curatorial projects. In her case, she has organised exhibitions which brought together other Asian diaspora artists to reflect on the issue of oversea cultural exchange, discussing personal identity in a foreign land and the question of belonging. In 2021, in collaboration with BAHC Advisory and the Hangzhou Cultural Exchange Centre, Yage Guo curated the group exhibition ‘Walls All Around’, featuring the artworks of seven Asian artists in the UK, including painting, drawing, video, photography and sculpture. In response to questions of identity, belonging and Chinese tradition. During this exhibition, Guo had run a panel discussion with emerging artist Yunju Tsai to elaborate the new possibilities from the isolated creative process during the lockdown. The exhibition attracted hundreds of visitors across the UK, receiving some public attention. Nouvelles d’Europe UK Edition 25.06 – 01.07-21 also published a review in the paper format.

Yage Guo’s next step is to continue her artist journey in the UK. Her future exhibitions are scheduled to firstly participate in a group show at Herald St Gallery, London in November 2022. In 2023, a solo exhibition will be held at ADZ gallery in Lisbon, featuring graphite drawings and small-scale paintings. Later, a duo-artists exhibition with Double Q gallery in Hong Kong and a group exhibition in Gene Gallery, Shanghai will further explore contemporary feminism in mixed-culture and millennium-generation context.


在海外工作與學習的時間裡,雅格參與了英國本土和其他國際畫廊和非商業空間的展覽。其中包括:「飲食男女 Eat Drink Man Woman」倫敦The 180 Strand; “What Now?”於倫敦PM/AM 畫廊; “EYES, DUSK, PHANTASMAGORIA”,倫敦 Rupture XIBIT空間; A/D D/A, 倫敦ZERUI 畫廊; “ASSEMBLE”, 英國V.O.Curation項目; “XENOS”, 杭州宇宙畫廊; “Pathways on Paper”, 倫敦South Parade畫廊;“ Knocking it out of the Park”, 倫敦Gallery 46;“Folie à Deux”,倫敦 Haus Gallery; “Decent Gaming”, 上海Linseed畫廊,等等。郭雅格曾於2022年獲得Mary Rischgitz 獎項。作品目前被Simon Nixon Foundation收藏。

郭雅格在近期的畢業展中收到廣泛關注。她在學校的展覽環境下,引入了一個完整的敘事氛圍。在本次畢業展中,她展示了9張油畫作品以及一本結合了27張鉛筆劃的手工書。冠以主題名 「The Moth Disturbs The Night (擾夜之蛾)」。這個主題以“夜晚”為背景。人的意志在太陽落山後變得渙散,有了更多神遊和自省的空檔。經歷傍晚、入夜、深夜、黎明各個時段,情緒在懷舊、孤寂、苦悶和希望中跌宕起伏。在月光普照的夜裡,不同的事物正在發生,想像和情感化身為某種幽靈(apparition)四處遊蕩。演繹於油畫表面或者繪畫紙面上。

蛾子啟發了這次展覽的創作,它初次具象體現在「Victoria Time Hat」這張畫裡——靈感來自於舊貨市場裡一頂維多利亞時代的帽子,那頂帽子擺放得很落寞——在觀賞時,藝術家感覺不到穿戴的慾望,卻猜想起它與曾經的主人的經歷:在被遺忘在衣櫃裡的時間裡,唯獨蛾子會看見它,而帽子在被蛾子啃噬後才重新被關照。年復一年地,蛾子如同時間的使徒,默默地誕生於不知名的角落,在布料上留下痕跡,再悄悄地逝去。它周而復始的生命週期彷彿一種輪迴,它撲向光時像一種對宿命的接納。這些元素與郭雅格創作所關注的主題不謀而合。

在以獨立藝術家身份創作之外,郭雅格也參與策展項目。通過組織展覽的形式,凝結其他華裔藝術家,深入交流和思考海外文化交流的議題,討論作為異鄉人的個人身份以及歸屬問題。在2021年,郭雅格與歐洲BAHC文化機構以及杭州文化交流中心合作,在諾丁漢Fusion空間以策展人的身份組織了群展「Walls All Around 」,展出了7位在英國的亞洲藝術家的作品。包括繪畫、素描、錄像、攝影和雕塑,以回應關於身份、歸屬和中國傳統的問題。在展覽期間,郭雅格組織了和藝術家蔡昀儒的討論會,研討了封鎖期間的孤立的創作過程所帶來的新契機。這次展覽在英國各地吸引了數百名觀眾。收到了一定關注。 Nouvelles d’Europe UK Edition 25.06 – 01.07-21也以紙媒形式發表了點評。

郭雅格的未來計劃是在英國繼續她的創作實踐。她未來的展覽計劃於2022年11月參與在倫敦Herald St Gallery的群展。 2023年,在里斯本的ADZ畫廊舉辦個展,展出石墨畫和小尺寸油畫。之後,將於香港的Double Q畫廊舉辦雙人展,並在上海的Gene畫廊參與群展;進一步探索在文化交融和千禧年代背景下的當代女性主義課題。


Edited by 編輯 x Shannon 王昱雯


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