View of My Garden, My Sanctuary, FACT Liverpool, UK, 2022. Photo: Rob Battersby.
Yaloo and Sian Fan
My Garden, My Sanctuary
July 21–October 9, 2022
Curated by Carrie Chan
88 Wood Street
Liverpool L1 4DQ
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–6pm
FACT launches the summer exhibition My Garden, My Sanctuary: a collection of new, immersive artworks by Yaloo and Sian Fan—two artists using creative technology to tell stories of ancestry and self-discovery in a hyperconnected world.
Presented by FACT’s 2022 Curator-in-Residence, Carrie Chan, My Garden, My Sanctuary immerses visitors in playful, watery worlds. From anime and K-pop, to lotus flowers and seaweed, artists Yaloo (South Korea) and Sian Fan (UK) weave commodified symbols of east Asia throughout their work to reclaim their cultural identities, and remix their coming-of-age stories. The new commissions transform the galleries, taking shape as large-scale animated installations and interactive gaming environments.
Combining ancient Korean traditions and beliefs with family histories, Yaloo presents a mystical installation environment. Birthday Garden (2022) begins with a temple-like gateway, leading visitors into an underwater seaweed garden and giant, animated sheet mask. The work explores the challenge of shaping self-identity and cultural stories against the commercial context of Korean culture within global media.
As part of FACT’s work around how young people craft and embody digital identities, Yaloo expands on the themes in her work to include young people’s views and critique of popular culture and social media. A series of conversations with members from the University of Liverpool’s K-pop Society, and a group of young people from Liverpool, will result in a K-pop inspired dance, public performance and a podcast documenting their creative process.
Sian Fan, Lotus Root, 2022
Sian Fan combines imagery found in anime and fantasy video games with commercialised depictions of East-Asia. In her new commission Lotus Root (2022), Sian presents an anime fantasy video game set in a sanctuary of lotus flowers and lily pads. Hyper-real avatars are nestled within the space, inspired by the characters from anime series Sailor Moon and video games Final Fantasy and Grandia. Deity (2022) is a shrine to the virtual self. Multi-angle ‘mirrors’ wrapped in root-like sculptures present a digital performance, combining motion capture and physical movement. An avatar of the artist responds to audience interaction, revealing the connection with our virtual selves. The immersive installations challenge romanticised ideas of East-Asian culture and standards of femininity found in gaming and animation.
Sian Fan, Deity, 2022
Established in 2019, FACT’s annual residency programme invites curators to develop their ideas and research into a major exhibition and public programme of events. Carrie Chan, 2022 Curator-in-Residence at FACT, said: “The exhibition has been curated to feel like a rite of passage: a journey where visitors encounter two artists whose works reflect on their own identities and cultural heritage within a technology-driven, alternative world. My residency at FACT has enabled me to explore diverse curatorial approaches in narrating stories on ancestry, identities and belonging, and has given me the opportunity to bring two acclaimed digital media artists to Liverpool – a city with a strong history of Asian immigrants and diaspora.”
My Garden, My Sanctuary forms part of Radical Ancestry, FACT’s current year-long programme. Maitreyi Maheshwari, Head of Programme at FACT, said: “From ‘alternative museums’ of artworks that question how science and technology have shaped our understanding of the past, to the ways in which the stories and songs we inherit help define key moments in our lives, the Radical Ancestry programme is an exploration of our changing sense of self. This exhibition continues our journey from the past into a present in which the artists playfully remix symbols from their familial heritage with pop cultural references, creating new possibilities and hybrid identities. Carrie has introduced us to ambitious new artists whose outlooks and practices convey the energy and the difficulties in trying to forge a new way of being.”
My Garden, My Sanctuary is now open at FACT until October 9, 2022. The exhibition will be accompanied by a public programme of family friendly events including food-based workshops, curator tours, a talk exploring stereotypes and representation in gaming, and artist performances.