FOREIGN BODY

Solo Exhibition @ The Stalk Room
Shueng Wan, Hong Kong
 
Fabric Flower, 2013, archival inkjet print, 90 x 60  cm, edition 1/5
 
Instalation collaboration with The Stalk Room
 
Fabric Flower, 2013, archival inkjet print, 90 x 60  cm, edition 1/5
 
Rainbow #2, 2014, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Foot Display, 2013, archival inkjet print, 20 x14 cm, edition 1/5
Feet with Fan, 2013, archival inkjet print, 20 x14 cm, edition 1/5
Fan, , Let Me In series, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Fan, , Let Me In series, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Fan, , Let Me In series, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Fan, , Let Me In series, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Parting of the Sea, 2013, archival inkjet print, 40 x 60  cm, edition 1/5
 
Matza Yael, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Sherman, from Possessions series,  2011, archival inkjet print, 40 x 60  cm, edition 1/5
 
Thai Garlic Monkey, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 cm, edition 1/5
Making the Commonplace Beautiful and Unique
Text by: Roslyn Lee Hammers, PhD 

Yael Bronner Rubin’s latest photographic exhibition, entitled Foreign Body, at the Stalk 
Room on Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan is yet another visually compelling display of 
making the mundane marvelous. Her artwork is featured amongst the florally and jungly 
fantasies of Maurice Chia, master artist of the botanical.  Most engaging are the photos of 
chicken feet, oddly human and yet not, but made seductive and ladylike through the 
application of bright pink nail polish to their pointy sharp nails.
At times the chicken feet, so human-like with bubbly fishnet-like texture, poke from 
elegant geometrically controlled patterned wood inlaid boxes. A visual treat that is both 
gorgeous and repellant. Another work, chicken feet with painted nails, chopped with 
veiny and skeletal innards visually outward, heighten a sense of the grotesquery of their 
dismemberment. Featured in combination with splintered scrap wood, a cluster of grapes, 
and a disturbing latex glove, condom-like and seemingly hygienic is a formally beautiful 
composition that is inviting and hostile.  
Yael seeks to integrate the elements of local Hong Kong with the universality of
capitalistic kitsch.  Cheap plastic placemats emblazoned with airbrushed and waterfalls of 
undetermined places cascade about the slightly gnarled feet of a man, yet are brightened 
and beautified through fluorescent orange nail polish. The feet coyly rests on a wooden 
stand typically used to display Chinese object d’art. Yael admits awareness of Chinese 
foot-binding practices that serves as a reference, but she sees a process that manipulates 
the normative to contrast notions of beauty. By choosing to photograph masculine feet, 
with wispy intrusions of hair visible on toes and feet creepily generates tension between 
expectations of gendered glamour and a mediated reality. Another work with the same 
male foot continues the theme of humorously playing with mass-produced art-like 
objects. The inclusion of a painted fan, posed between toes, was most likely purchased 
from the “Twelve-dollar Store,” a chain store ubiquitous to Hong Kong yet mass-
merchandising that also occurs at the global level.
Through an exploration of belonging and alienation, the attractive and the repulsive, Yael 
seeks to investigate the value of the individuality and the unique in a world awash with 
kitschy commodified uniformity. At the same time as an individual not from Hong Kong, 
yet living and working here, she attempts to bridge her past experiences shaped by 
varying environments to address her new placement within Hong Kong. She enlivens the 
mundane through displacement to underscore the familiar within the foreign.

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