Yin Yang Rock

Yin Yang Rock, as found on andreasbanderas.com


In 2010, curator Ben Vickers organised a series of exhibitions called New Age Default, curated by Dieter Kloss, an anonymous fashion label come collective, that Vickers created and destroyed in the run up and course of the shows at the New Gallery in London. The opening event was a one-night group exhibition called NO PERMISSION / ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK, in which no artists were invited to show; “their works [were] instead downloaded, reproduced and restaged” (Vickers, 2010). The list of artists whose work would appear in the exhibition was not announced until the day of the exhibition in part to avoid legal intervention from representatives of any of the artists. Vickers said in the press release that his intention was for this exhibition to reflect the way in which one ornaments oneself daily on Facebook or Tumblr; for it to act as a “status update” to “alert [his] entire network of friends and acquaintances to [his] feelings,” which in this case were feelings of heartbreak (Vickers, 2010). Works included an altered version of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ Untitled (Perfect Lovers) (1987-90) where the clocks were out of sync and with distance between them, Bas Jan Ader’s I’m too sad to tell you (1971) streamed from YouTube, Marina Abramovic and Ulay’s Rest Energy(1980) restaged by performers, and a scaled-down version of Cory Arcangel’sPhotoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient "Spectrum", mousedown y=1098 x=1749.9, mouseup y=0 x=4160 (2008), the instructions for the production of which are contained within its own title.

I didn’t see the exhibition at the time, but saw documentation of it online and got to know more about it three months later in January 2011 when I started an internship at the New Gallery. At the New Gallery, behind the bar, on top of a tall fridge was what looked like a large chunk of flint that vaguely resembled a Yin Yang, an artefact that had been left behind after the exhibition. Shortly after my internship ended in April 2011 the gallery closed down. In September 2011 I started to come up with the initial idea for Genuine Articles and I started reading about New Age Default and I started to think about the Yin Yang Rock. I got in touch with Vickers to find out some more about it, he told me that it originated from an image that he had found on the artist Andreas Banderas’ website, in a page dedicated to miscellaneous images that Banderas had found online. Vickers then commissioned Carmen Mueck to sculpt the rock, in an edition of ten, from the jpg. One of these was then exhibited in NO PERMISSION / ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK. After the exhibition, Vickers decided to leave the rock at the gallery, and no more editions of it were ever produced. It was then that I decided that I would like to include the Yin Yang Rock in Genuine Articles.

I contacted my old colleagues at the New Gallery to ask if they knew the whereabouts of the rock, no luck. I contacted the new owners of the New Gallery to ask if they had come across it, no luck. I emailed Vickers and he suggested that I contact Mueck, who told me that she did not know the whereabouts of the rock and no longer had the mould from which she had cast it. I have since discovered, with the help of Google’s “Search by Image” function, that the original jpg that appeared on Banderas’ site was in fact a photograph of a fragment of a meteorite than fell to earth at 12.45pm on 1st May 1860 and landed somewhere near New Concord in Muskingum County, Ohio (meteorites.asu.edu).

Barnie Page, 2014