Issue 2: Making Conversation

There is an ocean between you and me 

An essay discussing how artists and audiences rely on works of art to complete invisible conversations.

I have always believed that there must be an invisible ocean between the work of art and the audience. When the audience looks at the work of art and becomes interested and curious, the process of thinking about the work over time is like the process of thinking about the work of art and the relationship between the person who created the work and the audience. Many viewers are exploring this invisible sea. Maybe we can have the same connection with the viewers and meet each other. Maybe we can’t meet, but we can see different scenery through a ‘window’. I think this process completes an invisible dialogue between multiple people.

Digital Video,Untitled,Yilin Feng,2023

In a short film I made for a research festival, I chose blinds to cover the windows. Symbolizing selective openness to the outside world, a staccato shadow is created through the projection of leafy vegetation blowing in the wind through the gaps in the blinds, like the credits rolling at the end of a movie. The language is abstract, and the covered and uncovered parts create a sense of three-dimensionality, while also suggesting the relationship between the inside and outside of the painting.

In the picture, as a speedboat approaches, the calm sea surface is stirred up into waves, becoming excited and restless. The video of the sea was shot during my trip to Venice. The swinging shadows of the trees in the blinds were projected onto the window of my room on a night when I was not sleeping. the resulting picture. At this moment, the autumn leaves reminded me of the sea in that summer, and I edited these two brief moments together. The trees outside the room where I lived in London had not seen the waves in Venice, but my memory linked the two things together. Their previous dialogue across time and space was also a dialogue between myself and myself.

Closed Gallery is a 1969 piece consisting of three invitations to gallery shows in Amsterdam, Turin, and Los Angeles printed on simple white cards. They informed the recipients that during the exhibition, the gallery would be closed. “It’s the purest form of this notion of what the physicality of art is and what art is really all about. One doesn’t need to even have the gallery space”, said David Platzker, who sent out numerous announcement cards worldwide, each saying simply “During the exhibition the gallery will be closed”. “I got permission from Robert [Barry] to do the show,” Platzker said. “I asked him if he would lend me copies of the three prior announcement cards and he said, ‘Why would you want them? There is no show. I don’t want people to come to the gallery because the gallery is closed.’

This special form of work makes me think about what identity the art museum assumes in the current society. Because of the continuous development of technology, the media that artists can choose to express their inner thoughts are becoming more and more diverse, so more and more The art works are also constantly breaking the deep-rooted image of the art museum as a “white house”. In the course of thousands of years of historical evolution, the word art has finally been completely broken and crushed from being a tool for depicting the image of God, and has penetrated into contemporary life.

In the book “During the Exhibition the Gallery Will Be Closed: Contemporary Art and the Paradoxes of Conceptualism”. Edited by Camiel van Winkel. This book is a collection of essays framing art of today as largely “post-conceptual”, offering a new and revealing insight into the systematics of contemporary art and artisthood.

Art galleries are often places where artworks are displayed, and gallery closures disrupt audiences’ expectations of art exhibitions. This behavior might be seen as a paradox, underscoring the challenge conceptual art poses to traditional art venues and experiences. Conceptual art usually requires the active participation and thinking of the audience. This interactive approach may contrast sharply with traditional passive viewing of art, creating a paradox. How this interaction triggers viewers to think deeply about art and concepts. A Chinese director I like once said, “A movie is like dropping a stone in the heart of the audience. The ripples are different for everyone.” The creation process of contemporary art is like an artist constantly discovering the stones left deep in his heart. These often come from one’s own childhood, pain, memories, etc. The artist then places these inner stones in the work to inspire more inner ripples in the audience. And how are the stones in our hearts discovered?

The book “The Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard.   In this book the author explains a classic exploration of the phenomenology of architectural spaces and the poetic impact they have on human experience.

“The Poetics of Space” is a philosophical and poetic journey into the intimate realms of our lived spaces. Bachelard delves into the emotional and psychological dimensions of various types of spaces, from the nooks and crannies of our homes to the vastness of the cosmos.One key theme is the idea of “intimate immensity,” where small, personal spaces can evoke a sense of vastness and transcendence. Bachelard explores how these spaces shape our memories, dreams, and overall sense of being. He celebrates the poetic resonance of corners, drawers, and wardrobes, suggesting that they are not merely physical entities but carriers of our innermost experiences.Bachelard investigates how these spaces become repositories for our memories and emotions, influencing our perceptions of the world. He argues that even the most ordinary spaces can have a profound impact on our inner lives.

The book also delves into the concept of “topoanalysis,” the psychological study of the influence of physical spaces on the mind. Bachelard analyzes various archetypal elements of domestic spaces, such as the cellar, attic, and nests, revealing the symbolic meanings they hold in our collective unconscious.The attic may symbolize dreams, the cellar the hidden things in our hearts. Through everyday spaces, Bachelard opens up a whole world of how we relate to the places around us.Bachelard investigates how these spaces become repositories for our memories and emotions, influencing our perceptions of the world. He argues that even the most ordinary spaces can have a profound impact on our inner lives. Precisely because everyone has different experiences, when facing these symbolic space symbols, the broad meanings represented by these things will be mixed with rich personal emotions. Therefore, when everyone walks into the art exhibition, The exhibition set off different waves in everyone’s heart.

In a nutshell, The Poetics of Space is like a guide that helps me understand why a room is more than just a room, it’s a canvas for your emotions, memories, and imagination. It’s like turning your home into a book of poetry, with a story to tell in every corner.

This book made me understand more clearly why the symbol “window” attracts me so much. When I look at the window, I feel like I am reading a collection of poems. This collection of poems is written by leaves turning yellow and green; by sparrows, cicadas, It is written by frogs and insects that I cannot name; it is written by the shower after a sunny day, when the rain mixes with the strong wind and hits the glass; it is written by my memories and emotions.


Robert Barry,Closed Gallery,1969


Gaston Baschelard,The Poetics of Space,1958 published by Presses Universitaires de France.

Camiel van Winkel,During the Exhibition the Gallery Will Be Closed,2011 published by Valiz from Amsterdam.

About the author

Yilin Feng completed MA Fine Art: Drawing at Camberwell from 2022 to 2023. Her digital video are influenced by Surrealism,In it, she strives to find an outlet for complicated emotions. Follow her work at .