Saturday, February 19, 2011

Horror Vacui

No room containing a 16-foot squid has ever been so vacant. German artist David Zink Yi obviously intended to underwhelm the senses with his exhibition “Horror Vacui,” or “fear of emptiness,” at the Midway gallery in Northeast Minneapolis.

His primary display is comprised of a cement floor, an intentionally industrial ceiling, four walls, as many overhead light fixtures, three 5 foot by 6.5 foot photographs, and one colossal, ceramic invertebrate. As if to help the void in the room make a sucking sound, Yi named all his works “Untitled.”

The artist’s photographs serve as portals into the surrounding abyss. Shadowy, white bows of a cedar tree loom out like arms from a jet black background and a thin, black frame. The deflated centerpiece they encompass – whose body is dead, dry, and colorless – lies directly on the floor in a puddle of black ink.

One could say the squid, vomited up from the depths, brought residue of its netherworld habitat along with it. The neighboring tree limbs certainly mimic whatever might dwell with such a being a mile below the waterline. However, the focal point of the show is the unease felt by the viewer in such a starkly monochromatic, desolate space.

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