Oscar yi Hou


James Fuentes Press #6: Oscar yi Hou
Melding critical theory, political critique, poetry, and memoir, this publication focusing on the work and writings of Oscar yi Hou weaves together a meditation on language, relation, and identity. Offering both scholarly and personal explorations of the artist’s oeuvre, yi Hou compels us to ask: What is art after representation?

Containing new essays from Simon Wu, Xin Wang, and Kate Wong, alongside a conversation between yi Hou and fellow artist Amanda Ba, this collection of texts illuminates the expansiveness of yi Hou’s practice. A collection of color plates surveying yi Hou’s artistic practice anchors the center of the book.

Yi Hou’s own writings are represented in a series of chapters published here for the first time. The first chapter, “On languishing, languaging, and loving, aka: A dozen poem-pictures" is a poetic and critical reflection on the interrelation between stuttering and diasporic “languaging.” Intertextual in nature, yi Hou cites writers and artists such as Gilles Deleuze, Rey Chow, Roland Barthes, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, giving insight into the artist’s “poem-picture” practice. This chapter concludes with an original “poem-picture.”

The next chapter, “Notes toward a sky-licker relation,” reveals the conceptual underpinnings of his 2021 solo exhibition at James Fuentes, A sky-licker relation. The first subsection, Notes on Relation, is a series of notes detailing yi Hou’s thoughts on representation, relation, queerness, and ontology. Citing Trinh T. Minh-ha, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Édouard Glissant, among several others thinkers, yi Hou expounds his philosophy on the relational nature of being and how such thinking influences his art practice. The second subsection, “Representationalism, aka: Representation and its Discontents,” critiques the liberal capitalist recuperation of the politics of representational diversity. Finally, the chapter concludes with “Notes on Yellow,” a personal essay on East Asian racial politics in the West.

The final chapter is a cento, inspired by the final chapter of Susan Sontag’s collection of essays, On Photography (1977).  Pulling from an eclectic array of philosophers, critical theorists, authors, friends, poets, and musicians, this quotational essay is a testament to the intertextuality of yi Hou’s citational practice.

Edited by Morgan Becker.

Designed in collaboration with Other Means.

Product details:
255 pages
7 x 4.25 x .88 in.