This exhibition follows a two week residency at Willesden Gallery, from the 17th to 30th August 2020. During the residency Yang-En Hume has been working on a series of site-specific textile and cyanotype installations.
Flea markets in Europe feature overwhelming amounts of domestic detritus. Family photographs, letters, fabric and handicrafts are displayed in disorganised piles, presenting a striking contrast to the carefully classified artefacts exhibited in museums. Such differences reveal a valuing of certain stories and an overlooking of others. Personal histories are embedded within the surfaces of found objects; the intimate, private nature of these items simultaneously reveal and conceal much about the people who once owned them.
In this exhibition, Hume creates cyanotypes from photographs of anonymous women collected at flea markets. The installation of these photos in a gallery setting displaces them from their original contexts. The role of chance in creating cyanotypes echoes the accidental nature of discovering objects at flea markets, while the partially obscured prints reflect the way in which found objects only tell us fragments of a story. The cyanotypes are documented and digitally printed onto translucent fabric which is then cut and layered, distorting the original images further.
Relics invites the audience to question why certain stories and objects are memorialised in museums while others are discarded. The process of organising fragmented photos resembles detective work as Hume works to identify the significance of these images and how they fit together. Fabric, embroidery and portraits of women take up space in the gallery, highlighting the unseen labour of women and paying homage to the often overlooked domestic crafts.
Yang-En Hume is an Australian installation and mixed-media artist based in London. She has held solo and group exhibitions in London, Sydney and France. Her 2019 exhibition, Duplicate State, wove together found objects, cameraless photography and fibre art to explore how personal histories are remembered and constructed. In 2016, Hume coordinated a team of forty embroidery volunteers for her exhibition, Diaspora. She curated the exhibitions Pricked in 2016 and Atrophy in 2014. In 2014 she was team leader for the collaborative collage works, No Human Being is Illegal (In All Our Glory), coordinated by artist Deborah Kelly which were exhibited at the Sydney Biennale.
Hume has been the recipient of various grants and prizes. She won the A-N artist bursary in 2020 and the NG Creative Residency Prize in 2018. In 2015 she was awarded the National Art School Paris Residency, the Australia Council for the Arts ArtStart Grant and the Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant.