'Provoking Relations' is a result of an on-going exploration on paper as a primary material language during Yao Hai’s 3-month residency at Lepsien Art Foundation in Düsseldorf. He explores the production relations between people and things, and the essence of being part of this evolving relationship in the ecosystem as an artist.
He selected several elements as interfering languages including circle, square, color, metal rivet and sewing machine, and introduced these elements to a physical production relation with paper. Either they are tangible or intangible; imaginary or real, these elements are the inducement and energy to explore and open new possibilities in paper.
Employing an abstract idea of a circle to embark on a course of action to intervene; applying water-based colors on paper to alter its shape; exploiting metal rivet to mediate a spatial relationship, Yao Hai uses these three unrelated material languages to mediate and provoke primary material language – paper. All these languages have evolved into a symbiotic relationship. In this approach, Yao Hai emphasizes on the evolvement of a relationship between things, and the connection between a thing in its new form of existence to other things. He attempts to utilize the relationship network to translate things into new artistic language.
Yao Hai believes that the significance of his practice is the evolving process of the symbiotic relationship between the course of actions and his material languages. In the context of a basic relationship, different things can inspire unpredictable new languages to develop new relationship context.
Yao Hai finds the trajectory of these subtle relationship networks intriguing and the exploration process makes him feel closest to arts.