NEW YORK, NY.- Jane Lombard Gallery
is presenting Alma by Nina Yuen, featured in conjunction with their current viewing room In Celebration of the Natural World. With most major cities worldwide still adhering to stay-at-home orders, the concept of ones environment has stretched to include interior spaces; the inside of our homes, apartments and studios have become our natural worlds. Re-defining boundaries and space in the midst of pandemic isolation creates a platform for personal introspection, one that can be welcome for some, and detrimental for others. Alma explores the effects of this social partitioning, focusing on physical and emotional isolation, virtual communal dependency, the mourning of human interaction and the subsequent existential dread that follows in tow.
The details of the script for Alma were modeled from data that the artist collected from her own digital devices. The film describes a woman who enters into a private contract with a room. The objects in the room monitor how she feels as they respond to her in real time, comforting her with their physical presence and touch. The room tracks the characters steps and her screen time, but it also monitors impossible data points, like what she would have accomplished if she had lived a different life. The first half of the film celebrates the unreality of her wishful thinking that technology is capable of solving any problem. In the second half of the film, these optimistic ideas are traded for a catastrophic vision of her digitally connected self. In the end, she is immersed in a space that describes what it once was like to be among other people. While physically separated, she waits indefinitely in a digital rendering, surrounded by a phantom of human presence.
Drawing from sources including her own memories and experiences, literature, poetry, science, and art history, Nina Yuen merges the personal and the universal in her videos. Incorporating herself into her films as protagonist and narrator, she builds dreamlike, loosely constructed scenes out of hypnotic image series that seem to unspool into snippets of music and the rhythm of her voice, as she recites poetry, reads passages from a wide range of texts, and recounts her own and other peoples memories. Though such weighty philosophical themes as death, time, and beauty run throughout her films, Yuens humor keeps things light, surprising, and strange.
Nina Yuen (b. 1981 in Kahuku, Hawaii) received her MFA from Bard College in 2014 and her BA from Harvard University in 2003. She currently lives and works in New Haven, CT. Her work has been exhibited at the Chinese Art Centre, Manchester, UK; De Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam, NE; The Fort, Brooklyn, NY; Freud Museum, London, UK; Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI; Kunsthuis SYB, Beesterzwaag, NE; Jane Lombard Gallery, Chelsea, NY; Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, DE; Museu de Arte Contemporanea Niteroi, Niteroi, BR; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, OR; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NE and the Tavistock Centre, London, UK.