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[ Grumble ]

8.  The grumble starts…


Head spinning
I want to know where this dizzying stress has come? What am

I fearful of?
I do not think

that I am afraid of the egg yolk falling off the monocle plate because it has happened so many times before And

I understand that this affects one part of the artwork

Even if it is not intended Maybe

I am afraid of not showing the work perfectly Each individual egg

yolk is different

and so they might not always fit perfectly on the

monocle plate

I cannot and do not want to control it

to be


I remember the first thought that I

had about this piece of work

That it is plain A simple idea of using an organic object

with colour

to fit within a plastic plate that

I had set up on the wall The starting point is so
simple that I even feel ashamed in speaking it

out loud

mouth becomes dry

But then the more I

gulp of saliva

spend time with this work

the more questions and concepts the work brings up and asks me

It seems like this work will never end

it keeps progressing day after day

asking a lot of questions

my body grows heavy

The more

I spend time with this work
the more questions I have with

I assess and respond to its materiality

I feel emotionally conflicted on

opening night...

I am extremely tense during the whole evening

My jaw clenched Body stiff Eyes alert

I have to watch out for


take care of the master
I set an alarm for every 30 minutes

to remind me to change the egg yolk On the one


I feel relief as this helps me to escape from

socializing at the opening
but on the other

I feel trapped as I simply can NOT spend time
having conversations with friends

I am not a subject
and this feeling

of contradiction

has also continued in my behaviour towards

changing the egg yolk

set myself as a medium for helping the work

change the egg yolk

am not here as a notable performer


secretly hope that no one will notice me
but the truth

the entire changing process proves interesting and is attended by a curious


I walk through the audience
handling the egg yolk with care, palms clammy with

anticipation and

keeping the egg yolk away 

from any potential


Full concentration is required

a furrow appears in my brow

to protect the egg yolk in my hand

and again

I feel my cheeks redden from the awkward situation
in touch with the audience

hairs on the back of my neck


I enjoy it when some of the

audience notice me and

others do not Over the course of the exhibition

I force myself to stay in the gallery to change the egg yolk during

opening hours This is where

I start this Grumble


in the gallery
writing Somehow


this is the only time that

I feel secure because

I have the responsibility of checking and changing the egg yolk

which is something

I can
do on my own

I do not need to bother others for help with this

but at the same time

another pressure arises from sitting in this space

which feels as if it exists out of time Hearing the gallery assistant

working on the phone

typing emails

body tenses

feet tap the floor

I strongly want to ignore visitors
as they walk around the gallery

head bowed

concentrating on the weight of my body


a breath

I would personally rather become an object in this white cube

convincing myself again and again that

I am part of the work

I am only a medium a nobody


I shrink myself into the sides of the seat

Hunch over

Turn my face away from the visitor

I whisper and mumble to the visitor, the gallery staff again and again

‘Please ignore me
I do not belong in this space You can’t see me
please just ignore me’

-Boxes of Eggs -

As should now be clear, I worry a lot every time I exhibit this work. I am anxious that I will interrupt the staff working in the gallery because my presence is required for the work. I am concerned that I have already disturbed them. I am worried that maybe I just think too much.

These emotions are similar to what I usually face in social contexts. I worry. I over-think. I am full of indecision, awkwardness and stress. All these emotions are squeezing into the work. I worry that the other artists who are exhibiting in the show will be distressed during the run of the exhibition, as my presence in the gallery could be seen as writing over the top of their installations. This leads me to question whether I am the only one in this group exhibition who is trapped by my work...

The only time that I do not worry about the work is while I am in the process of changing the yolk. In this moment, I feel like a security guard who needs to keep their eyes on the target at all times. When the work is in my sightline, I feel that everything is in my control. But this can also be read as the artwork having control over me.


© 2012-2023  Chen, Yun-Ling. All rights reserved