Yona Lee: Composition
18 August 2012 - 10 February 2013
Auckland-based artist Yona Lee creates elaborate site-responsive interventions that form dynamic spatial relationships. Formerly a professional cellist, Lee's current artistic enquiry melds the formalism of classical music with an exploration of space and industrial materials, reminiscent of 1960s minimalism. Her most recent work has explored locations through complex linear forms constructed in galvanised steel.
For the Te Tuhi Drawing Wall, Lee has meticulously measured, cut and welded over 100 metres of 8mm stainless steel rod to engage with the spatial logic and transitory use of the site. As visitors enter the building they are flanked and directed by diagonal steel lines. This procession of line leads on to echo the existing architectural forms as the rod precisely aligns with structural beams, window frames, tiles and brick grouting.
At the structure's centre is an entwined cube-like structure that has been carefully engineered to imprison a cello. At unannounced periods throughout the exhibition, Lee will install the cello for temporary durations. This temporary addition introduces conceptual tension as emphasis shifts between the work's minimalism and the emotive cultural associations of the cello. The inclusion of music also introduces further formalist relevance between music notation and sculptural form. Brackets could be read as notes or stops and diagonal lines resembling rhythm and pitch.
Through this work, Lee enters into a conversation with the legacy of minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt and Fred Sandback. Her reference to classical music, however, derails this association to problematically introduce sentiment within the piety of formalism.
Review by John Hurrell, Eyecontact