Ellen Yiu’s diverse body of work is animated by universal struggles of containment, from art historical and national boundaries, to our attachment to the body and material culture.
Involving physical work and the support of local community, her intuitive approach in making questions the boundaries of art and function, culture and exchange.
The feeling of insecurity has always infiltrated our lives, but our search for safety and belonging is now at its peak with the impact of climate change and the imminence of war.
Ellen Yiu’s journey in making art is synonymous with her initial feelings of insecurity that emerged from the suffocating pandemic, which shifted into an optimistic outlook on our future.
Her work addresses ecological and cultural themes, but refracts them through small intimate narratives—in the form of domestic craft and tactile materials. Seen together in this dense installation, these hand-crafted and collected objects accrue shifting layers of purpose and meaning, mapping her journey from retreat to confrontation.
Amplified by the global impact of the pandemic, Ellen’s history—which arcs from social unrest in Hong Kong and displacement to Europe—intertwines with her work and the constant flux of home and identity. Take my Home Away visualises the passage of time, transiting from feelings of displacement and a readiness to flee, reflected in miniatures, to overcoming vulnerability and instability through socially engaging projects and exploring the idea of the home.
In My Hand a Miniature might happen to be the smallest thesis in the world. Throughout the thesis, Ellen dives into a personal fascination: miniatures, a theme that inspires her artistic practise and enables her to carry her work.
Focusing on like-minded souls, such as Marcel Duchamp and his suitcase filled with a travelling collection and Ursula Le Guin and her Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, Ellen investigates how the choice for a miniature is more than just a replica or the descaling of objects. Through exploring the fundamentals of the miniature, it opens up alternative aspects like the relationship they have with their container, or rather, their vessel.
Through employing a variety of historical, anthropological and political viewpoints on this topic, Ellen unfolds a fundamental and yet unconventional idea of cultural heritage and objecthood, through a humble microscopic lens.
Through the perspective of alternative vessels and carriers, In my Hand a Miniature in its form contextualises the complexity of the miniature's multiple dimensions. In making her thesis, Ellen creates yet another vessel-an unexpected perspective that can continue to hold her artistic practise.