fuyou: staying drifting

  • Fuyou: staying drifting examines a cultural nomads’ life, one that is both physically and metaphorically unstable. Resulting from his residency at I-Park Foundation, Inc., Fuyou is the first solo exhibition of Berkeley-based Chinese artist, Senbo Yang (b. 1990). Featuring more than ten installations and mixed media works, the exhibition explores tranquility in the face of precariousness through the artist’s multiple encounters with the same model of IKEA bed across time and space.

    For Yang, a bed with white sheets is his medium as well as a metaphor for consistency and safety during times of vagabondage. During his residency at I-Park, Yang conducted a series of spatial experiments. Placing the bed in unstable environments, such as in the middle of a pond or in the trees, is a poetic abstraction of his state of constant flux. Through a landscape architectural lens, the bed became a register and metric of natural phenomena. When phenomena such as  light and shadow, clouds and rain, wind and fog came into contact with the bed, all of these conditions were made more tangible.

    The title of the exhibition, “Fuyou,” is derived from a line of a poem by Chinese poet Su Shi:  “[Live like] mayflies thrown between heaven and earth, [like] infinitesimal grains in the vast sea.” Drifting and mayflies (insects that are believed to be born in the morning and die before sunset) are homophones, both pronounced as fuyou in Chinese. The works touch upon a philosophical question: Is drifting an ephemeral or everlasting status? On the one hand, the juxtaposition of calmness and restlessness reveals that drifting is the way international residents preserve their individuality while maintaining harmony with their constantly changing surroundings. On the other hand, the dualistic perspectives of “home” have been proposed that home is nowhere and everywhere.