If you were to have a solo exhibition, which works would you present and how would you present them? Codie instantly decided that she wanted to show an "Empty Room," which is not an empty room that she owns but one that she has emptied. Here, "empty" is more of a verb than an adjective as if Codie, as a creator, is continually "emptying" her observations, experiences, feelings, questions, and creations from the inside out, and then transferring them all into this "room" (or exhibition hall).
Codie is a prolific artist who creates new pieces in a variety of media nearly every other day. Her works are always motivated by strong feelings and interactions with the environment and society. She enjoys roaming alone, observing, thinking, and raising questions, but she is never just a "bystander." Her performances, installations, films, and photographic works demonstrate her compassion for people in need and their struggles.
The exhibition space is divided into three sections: the park, the bedroom, and the secret garden. Each section features a different series, namely, the installation work, What Is Our Contemporary, the photographic work, Fiber, and the video work, The Murmurs at Violet Hour. When you walk into the room, you'll notice the Fiber series in the dark and The Murmurs at Violet Hour series in the warm, creating an interesting contrast.
The black and white images linked to the idea of body and nature in the Fiber series reflect Codie's loneliness, doubts, disbelief, and contempt after "confronting" reality. Codie was placed in a mirror environment where she could only see her "self" while living alone during the pandemic, and she began to study and document her body and feelings in the approach of conducting an investigation through photography. Codie gradually discovered a subtle connection between nature and the human body: thorny slopes resemble indelible stretch marks on a woman's body; dry and twisted branches mirror a human body forced to twist; sprawling algae represents uncontrollable anxiety......Codie uses these pieces to describe her quiet but powerful discovery, confirmation, questioning, and even resentment of the world and herself. In this era of the Internet and entertainment, Codie's strong and persistent inquiries and acts of expressing in the face of reality, despite standing alone, are in fact full of energy.
Codie's work, like in the Fiber series, can be powerful and direct at times, but her genuine undertones and driving forces are rooted in The Murmurs at Violet Hour, where she exhibits her truthfulness, gentleness, and curiosity. Codie "runs away" for the first time in this film. Through glowing footage of everyday life shot throughout her journey and narration blended with quiet murmurs, she expresses her thoughts on "time," "love," "joy," and "desire" in the most straightforward way possible. Her thoughts are murmured, much like the title of the work, with no attempt to draw standards or conclusions. Instead, the film's flowing images and dialogues in a stream-of-consciousness style allow the audience to enter Codie's world of truth-seeking, exploration, and experience in everyday life.
Fiber and The Murmurs at Violet Hour showcase Codie's two creative poles. They are unique reflections of her acquired experiences as a result of her coming face to face with reality. "I want the audience to be able to renew their vision and be amazed at the sight of everything everywhere," Codie once said. In the same way, I hope some of you in Codie's "room" may experience life's vitality reviving in her works.
Codie Yan's work combines photography, collage, video, performance, and installation to explore the narratives and power of womanhood and selfhood. Yan's work is often tender and personal yet constantly questioning and reflecting on the complexity of identity, alienation and trauma, human connections, and warmth. Yan earned her BFA from Syracuse University. Her work has been exhibited at Light Work Photography Center, Syracuse International Film Festival, and Tank Art Center in Shanghai. This year, she has attended the Artist in Residence program at Three Shadows Photography Center in Xiamen, China.