Happy End AY2010
In collaboration with Andro Semeiko; live performance; installation
A man polishing medieval plate armour. A woman working in a bicycle factory. An invention called a Transmitter that takes its creators travelling to a new place of spiritual renewal that is neither East nor West. Happy End, originally presented at Guest Projects, London, was Yu-Chen Wang’s first major joint work using actors to perform the parts of Yu-Chen herself and her partner-collaborator, Andro Semeiko. And at its heart is a story – a work of fiction that propels Yu-Chen and Andro through space and time, on a quest for renewal. In both respects, then, the work is important, the Transmitter’s forward thrust propelling Yu-Chen’s work towards much of what has followed, notably The Splash and a Last Drop, 2011, and Heart To Heart, 2015-16. But it is not just a performative work featuring actors representing two real people who both happen to be the artists behind the work; Happy End incorporates their physical creations in the forms of sculpture and drawings, making an environment that is both an immersive installation and scenery for the imaginary journey of the Transmitter. The trajectory of a journey into infinity (lines of perspective closing in on a vanishing point) seems to have been embodied in one of the work’s other important features, A Dagger, a large, open, double A-shaped frame made of wood and painted yellow, that positioned at a lively angle, seems to be pinning a group of Yu-Chen’s drawings to a wall.
Happy End AY2010 was first presented at Guest Projects in London as part of Happy End / A Transmitter To the Ultimate Way of Contemporary Living. The exhibition featured works by international artists: Andro Semeiko, Yu-Chen Wang, Alasdair Duncan, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, Ad de Jong, Sheena Macrae, Andrew Darke, Lakis and Aris Ionas, Sebastian Lowsley-Williams and Tomoko Takahashi, and includes performance by Oliver Langdon and Caroline Garland from Kilter Theatre and a film programme curated by Georgia Korossi.
Happy End took its starting point from a semi-fictional story about Andro Semeiko and Yu-Chen Wang’s life and a journey to reach never-ending happiness. The story is based on the construction of a transmitter – a complex mechanical device that enables transportation to authentic happiness. As the device was developed it becomes apparent that the transmitter is more than a machine; it was a space, a unique experience and the ultimate way of living.
Happy End evolved through weekly previews of different artists’ work and a series of music, film, theatre and participatory events. Individual and collective contributions combined to influence the changing content and shape of the project. After the exhibition, the transmitter continues to live on in shared experience, ideas and relationships. The exhibition was curated by Yu-Chen Wang and assisted by Molly Bretton.
With thanks to Yinka Shonibare and bfi.
Happy End / A Transmitter To the Ultimate Way of Contemporary Living
5 May - 11 Jul 2010
Guest Projects, London