The Intimate Game of Exquisite Corpse with Samantha Fields and Andre Yi
By Genie Davis
Mr. & Mrs. Exquisite Corpse: Samantha Fields & Andre Yi
January 1 – February 28, 2017
Los Angeles based artists Samantha Fields and Andre Yi are creating a modern twist on a classic surrealist parlor game, Exquisite Corpse. And they’re playing this game of arts online.
Yi and Fields are married, adding an extra layer of intimacy to a game of fine art that began with a coin toss designed by Yi. The coin itself with its hieroglyphic-like symbols is the first work of art shown at this gallery exhibition. The winner of the toss, in this case Fields, then created an initial, official art work and – game on. The rules are simple: without discussing the piece, the other artist would create their own work within a week. Currently ongoing, viewers checking in frequently can watch the works unfold both individually and as a part of a collective whole.
In the original game, surrealist artists draw on a portion of a piece of paper, then fold it down to conceal their work before passing the paper to the next artist. The artistic game eventually becomes a single compilation piece created by a number of artists essentially working blindfolded.
In this version, Fields and Yi each create 2 and 3-D works which shift due to their unique visual interpretation. This is work both playful and profound in its creation of an unfettered dialogue of art.
Once created, their individual works are viewed by the other rather than being hidden; although their own interpretation of each work is not discussed.As each piece is posted a new experience unfolds for both the artist and the viewer.The genesis of this fascinating online show began with the gallery, according to Fields. “Another Year in LA, run by David and Cathy Stone, invited us to do the project, giving us instructions that the exhibition would be a collaboration based on our interpretation of the surrealist game ‘exquisite corpse,’ where ideas are passed back and forth between artists. Our only firm directive was that we could not speak to each other about the work, or discuss our plans for each piece with each other. We individually kept each piece secret until it was ready for exchange,” Fields explains. Although the two artists tried to stick to their dictated weekly schedule to a T, response time sometimes varied, she says.
Gallerist David Stone says what drew them to the project was simple: “Having always been intrigued by the Exquisite Corpse Surrealist game and action, Cathy and I thought that it might make for a great exhibition to update that process from being a two-dimensional draw-fold-draw-fold-draw again-fold again operation to something more contemporary. Since Another Year in LA is an online gallery, we are always considering artists and exhibitions first and foremost that embrace the internet as a medium.”
He adds that by making the Exquisite Corpse process timed and interactive, they liked the idea of pairing an artist couple who would not speak about what they were doing. “We love that Andre and Samantha have different styles of artwork and methodology from each other, and thought that their separate approaches to art-making would make for a great exhibition.”
Yi adds that one of the aspects of theproject he loves most is that its online. “It offers the ability for viewers to see a process and dialogue unfolding between Samantha and me. Many times people are too busy to drive to a gallery to see an artist’s project. Especially in a city like Los Angeles the amount of arts and happenings in this city can be overwhelming, but viewers may be able to steal five minutes every few days to see our process unfolding.” He notes that the online gallery is also a “great way to reach out to people who may not be in Los Angeles or do not have time to drive somewhere.”
Everything produced during the project will be shown, and all pieces were created solely for the exhibition. The gallery simply trusted the artists to deliver a strong, insightful show.
According to Fields, “Andre and I approached the project as a call and response, which is a process based in music, jazz in particular, where one artist riffs on the work of another, picking up threads and responding with new iterations. Andre and I each have our own individual bodies of work, and for me, it’s always interesting to step outside that work and experiment with a collaboration.”
Together since 1997, the project allowed the couple to experience a “sense of play and investigation that isn’t always possible” within their regular work, she adds.”Spending time having a rules-based art visual conversation was a fun way to talk to each other. I found myself very eager to see what he would devise in response to my works. For the exhibition, we wrote short essays to compliment each piece that details the thought process. One work of mine actually takes the form of a Memorandum, so things got really meta!”
Stone explains that “we love having artists exhibit in our online gallery who understand the possibilities of artwork on the internet can be more than just pictures of art online. Some artists can embrace the internet as a medium and some do not.”
Asked whether the project reflects a new direction for the artists, Fields says “I think every project has the potential to influence or alter the work. I don’t want to reveal too much about what comes next, as the show is designed to be revealed over time, but I made works that are not painting, in fact, I think I only made two paintings total for the project. One of the works I made is looping back into my paintings, so you never know what’s going to happen when you start a creative conversation.”
Stone concurs. “We are pleased with what Andre and Samantha have done with this exhibition. They really understood what could be fun as well as challenging in this endeavor and we think they really hit a home run.”
Yi is also excited about the work. “I love the opportunity to have projects like Another Year in LA knock me out a bit of my orbit in the studio. New and challenging projects have always been good for my creative process,” he asserts. “I think a project like this can reveal much more about an artist than what you see in many conventional exhibitions.”
Stone wants viewers to know that the show will unfold throughout January and February. “The best experience is checking in at least once a week to see how Andre and Samantha respond to each other’s last work,” he asserts.
Enter the online gallery and watch this involving process at http://www.anotheryearinla.com/2017_ExquisiteCorpse.htm