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Yi To Interview - The Hopper Prize

Yi To

The artist discusses creative thinking, making art as a means to solve questions, universal patterns that shapeshift into archaic forms & the things shared between humans

How did you get into making art?

Creative thinking was discouraged at school when I was a kid so I had held a lot of questions in my head over the years. At some point, I simply realised making art is able to solve those questions.

What are you currently working on?

I have been working on a body of work that is concerned about how our bodies carry within themselves a space called primal vacancy. It is where our body-before-body is involved in the process of ‘making’ at a time-before-time – what is being made is an unlearned and pre-narrative language where changes are a constant that is guided by our sense-making appetite. This undercurrent creates universal patterns that shapeshift into archaic forms and leak between bodies, forming a synthetic unity.

I'm always interested in what is shared between humans, be it the same air that we breathe in, our sense-making appetite or shared body structure.

Yi To

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

I’m always interested in what is shared between humans, be it the same air that we breathe in, our sense-making appetite or shared body structure. I am particularly struck by how our craving for clarity and meaning – a pre-narrative language and culture that has survived through human bodies up to the present – takes on different agencies and the contradicting unity that we find in ‘answers’ in the world gives insight to our mode of existence.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

I work on distinct projects but draw references from a broad scope, ranging from philosophy, science fiction, physics, foresting to mycology.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

Usually I start painting without a second thought; at other times I only stare at a painting for hours and end up not painting at all.

Who are your favorite artists?

Recently I have been enjoying the works by Hilma Af Klint, Ian Fairweather, Per Kirkeby, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Emily Carr, and Justin Caguiat.

Yi To is an artist based in London who was recently shortlisted for The Hopper Prize. To learn more about the artist:

  • Explore Yi To‘s finalist portfolio
  • Visit the artist’s website at yi-to.com
  • Follow their Instagram @yi_toh

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