10/6/16 - 2/12/17

David Zink Yi with Angie Keefer

Lisa Dorin, Deputy Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of Contemporary Art

David Zink Yi’s first museum exhibition in the United States brings together his work in sculpture, photography, music, and video and marks his foray into collaborative live performance. Developed with writer and artist Angie Keefer, and performed with musicians Marvin Diz, Eliel Lazo, Regis Molina, and Onel Matos Somoza, Zink Yi’s work at the Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) fuses Minimalist sculptural and musical traditions, Afro-Cuban spiritual music, and spoken word structures.

Interested in the ways identity finds expression through the body, Zink Yi is known for video installations that dwell upon physiological aspects of musical perception, and for large-scale sculptures of squids and octopuses, animals whose apparent physical identity may change dramatically as a form of communication or defense. Born in Peru, Zink Yi trained as a sculptor in Germany and developed a passion for Cuba’s music, history, and culture when he traveled there in 2001 and began studying Afro-Cuban percussion. He draws an analogy between a cephalopod’s limbs, which operate relatively independently from the animal’s central brain, and the “independence” achieved by some advanced musicians, particularly percussionists, whose limbs take on seeming autonomy when they play.

The exhibition combines the varied aspects of Zink Yi’s practice with an experimental performance commissioned by WCMA. A spoken word text developed by Angie Keefer and a constellation of brightly painted wooden sculptures specially designed for their acoustic qualities are activated by Zink Yi and four Cuban musicians, including three percussionists and a saxophonist, during the performance. Bodies, sounds, and words in turn become sculptural elements in a projected video work created from footage captured during performance rehearsals, while four bronze sculptures of anatomically precise octopus segments contrast with the minimal geometry of the wooden forms.

“Our invitation to David was intentionally open, an opportunity for him to do something he’d never done before. With Being the measure’s collaborative performance and multimedia installation, he took full advantage of the intimate, interdisciplinary environment of Williams and pushed his practice in an exciting new direction.” Lisa Dorin, deputy director for curatorial affairs and curator of contemporary art.

The exhibition is co-organized with the Mistake Room in Los Angeles where it will be reprised in early 2018. A publication will be produced by the Serving Library, the nonprofit artists’ organization “dedicated to publishing and archiving in a continuous loop,” co-founded by Keefer.

About the Artist

Born in Peru in 1973 David Zink Yi studied sculpture at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He currently lives and works in Berlin. Zink Yi’s work is represented in public and private collections throughout the world including Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and Museo de Arte in Lima. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, including the 8th Berlin Biennial and Prospect.3 New Orleans. Zink Yi is represented by Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London, New York, Somerset, Los Angeles; Johann Koenig Galerie, Berlin; and Livia Benavides in Lima, Peru.

Installation views