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04 Aug 2011

kunstraum tapir presents Grace Wawa Yang: Fairy Ring

takt owns the rights of this picture

Fairy Ring
kunstraum tapir


opening hours:
Wednesday 4-8 pm exhibition length:

Bernhard Haas

kunstraum tapir
Weserstr. 11
D-10247 Berlin

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Kunstraum Tapir is pleased to present Fairy Ring, an exhibition of new works by Grace Wawa Yang. Through installation and photography, Yang meditates on cycles of life using the unlikely metaphor of fungus. Specifically, she examines the phenomenon of a fairy ring, a naturally occurring ring of mushrooms that has numerous legends associated with it.

In European folklore it was believed that a fairy ring was a gateway to other worlds. Fairy rings were also said to represent the path made by fairies dancing in a ring. Some legends associated fairy rings with danger, whereas others viewed them as sites of luck and fortune. While there are many myths that honor the strange beauty and fragility of a fairy ring, the reality is they are actually a lawn disease caused by certain types of fungus. In her installation at Kunstraum Tapir, Yang contrasts fantastic myth with unsatisfying reality and offers her measured vision of a path that leads between the two.

Fairy Ring is inspired by the time when Yang was a child and a mushroom grew in the corner of her bathroom. Adults might be inclined to see this event as quirky and a little bit revolting, however for Yang it was a fantastic occurrence representing a moment when magic entered mundane reality. This divergence of responses between childhood and adulthood—as represented by the contrasting terms of 'fairy ring' (magical) versus 'fungus' (natural)—is where Yang situates her practice, as notions of innocence and fantasy are pitted against more critical perspectives.

In Fairy Ring Yang re-stages the event of finding wild little pieces of fungus in an unexpected location. Through installing black mushrooms throughout the gallery, Yang investigates the feelings of curiosity and trepidation she felt upon discovering a mushroom as a child. Is it safe? Is it real? Will it grow? Will it die? These are reasonable questions, yet the myths associated with fairy rings imply we hope any answer is possible.

Yang's photograph Grandma Playing Nintendo further documents how the uncanny in our world can feel quite natural. Yang's grandmother actually plays video games everyday, an activity she finds relaxing and fun. Yang's photograph of a fairy circle around grandmother at her games draws gentle connections between the two. Both grandmother and mushrooms are fragile and revered, and in Yang's image neither is conforming to the life cycle convention has laid out for them.

Fairy Ring will be exhibited from the 25th of July to the 14th of August. An opening reception at the gallery will be held on the 24th of July from 11am to 3pm. During this reception the artist will stage a butterfly release as an extension on the theme of the transient nature of life.

Grace Wawa Yang was born in Taiwan and raised in Canada. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver) and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from Parsons The New School For Design (New York). Yang currently works and lives in New York City and Vancouver.