Kennedy Yanko: Before Words
Kennedy Yanko (b. 1988) is a sculptor whose practice addresses how human perception and societal expectation are often in conflict. In constructing her work, Yanko relies upon intuitive systems and physically rigorous methods. Before Words is a body of metal and paint skin work meant to induce new ways of seeing. If we understand our human inclination and tendency to adopt collective viewpoints, then we can more determinedly decide to refute those learned perspectives and develop our own. Abstraction is the intuitive tool that illuminates independent thought. In psychology, it’s considered higher order thinking—and in philosophy, it’s a means of bringing hyper-focus to one aspect of a phenomenon. With Before Words, abstraction is implemented in both of these senses: it posits that sensory experiences constitute this higher order thinking, and it focuses on ambiguity as a means to elicit pure responses.
Published in conjunction with the exhibition Kennedy Yanko: Before Words at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, MI, this catalogue features full-color illustrations of the artist's works in that exhibition, as well as photographs of her exhibition HANNAH at Kavi Gupta Elizabeth St. With texts by Lucy Mensah, Juana Williams, and Kennedy Yanko.
Published by Kavi Gupta and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, 2019, paperback, 44 pages, 11 x 8.5 inches.