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Excellence in New York: Yang Mai

Artist Yang Mai’s work explores the intersection between fashion and fine art, recreating garments and clothing into new forms. Originally from Guangzhou, China the artist now lives and works in New York. 2017 has been an exciting year for the talented artist who participated in a group show at the New York Fashion & Lifestyle Festival at the Freedom Tower in June as well as a solo exhibition at the non-profit organization Chashama back in April. His work was also featured in the June 2017 edition of Vogue China. Yang Mai’s sculpture Made in China is currently part of the exhibition City Bites III which is the third installment of curator Asya Rotella’s exquisite vision for the Alessandro Berni Gallery located in the showroom of the Italian Green Design firm in Chelsea.

The sculpture is a mixed media garment installation made out of materials from clothing, fabric, paint, foam, and gold and silver metal leaf. Made in China alters the formal construction of suits into a playful and slightly absurd new structure. The garments are removed from the more serious and commercially focused context of the fashion world and reimagined as an object that seems irregular or abnormal, pushing the boundaries of how fashion can be utilized in innovative ways.

Yang Mai’s interest in blurring the lines between fashion and art began when he was in grad school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). While studying fashion, he began to transition to creating sculptures and installations, building his work upon the background of his studies in this field. As an artist, Yang Mai has said that his work is heavily influenced by his cultural surroundings, particularly growing up in China during the 1990s and the effect of the manufacturing industry on the individual. The title Made in China is a reference to both the labels found on clothing produced in China and the generation of people who grew up in this industrial era. The sculpture draws a connection between the mass production and rigidity of the manufacturing world and traditional education systems that often stifle individuality.

Yang Mai, Performance

Yang Mai draws a parallel between mass-production low-cost garments and the frustrating approaches to learning many conventional schools offer. Made in China challenges production-line thinking by recreating garments into unique and imaginative forms.

Nick Cave, Yang Mai, Liat Smestad

Yang Mai, Made in China

Yang Mai, Made in China

Yang Mai, Made in China

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