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Calgary
Lindsay Sorell
Jade Yumang at TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary
November 15, 2017

Creatures hang off the wall or lie on the grey concrete. Soft, colourful presences manifest as many-tentacled mop-headed organisms, deflated bagpipes, and curiously feathered wings. Jade Yumang’s Thumb Through at TRUCK Contemporary Art reincarnates the pages of the queer erotic magazine My-O-My Volume II, a 32-page publication obtained by police during a raid of the Action Auction bookstore in New Jersey in 1972. Each page of the magazine – gifted to Yumang by Evan Garza, Director of Public Art at Rice University – has been printed on one-yard lengths of cotton and sewn into long, titillating pencil-shapes and fingers that interweave with collected textiles specific to the 1970s. Flashes of tube sock fabrics and baseball cap mesh, yellow ochre, rust, and avocado green clad the printed matter and wrap around the base of these long phalluses. Faces and flesh appear on the tubes and recall Hannah Doerksen’s pleasure collages in Nothing Back Here Looks Alive shown earlier this year: daintily cut faces in ecstasy and plants sculpted out of her vintage porn magazine collection.



Jade Yumang, Page 15, 2016, scanned gay erotic page printed with archival ink on cotton, polyurethane foam, vinyl, faux fur, buttons, zipper, and high-density foam

My-O-My Volume II was described in court as featuring “nude males making love to one another.” It is an accusation of tenderness: two people treasuring one another. Yumang plays on this obscenified softness and confiscated lovemaking. Zippers and pink football jersey mesh, a skewed set of Dazed and Confused costumes, awkwardly obscure the paper shapes. Faux-fur, satin rope, silky fringe, leather, plaid – a fanfare of textiles almost like feathered battle decorations, a strangely soft armour – welcomes rather than obstructs the opponent. The little monsters ask to be touched and caressed. I reach down and stroke the furry top of one. His tube-legs hold on to a rectangular, seventies briefcase-style torso, attached by pleather buttons. Yumang’s textile objects, although printed with archival ink, carry an expiration date with them: fabric, thread, and paper already degrading humidity by humidity. His act of resuscitation calls erased histories back into memory for a time and, once his meditation has fallen to pieces, let them too be reincarnated. May villainized love stories be cut free from the network of the judicial system.


Jade Yumang: Thumb Through continues until December 9.
TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary: http://www.truck.ca/
The gallery is partially accessible.


Lindsay Sorell is an artist and writer who recently collaborated with the Advanced Toastmasters of Calgary for the IKG Live 1 performance festival and completed two solo exhibitions of new work: Exercises in Healing at Contemporary Calgary and Buddha, Why Am I Alone? at AVALANCHE! Institute of Contemporary Art. She is currently working on a large-scale watercolour painting of food and is the editor of Luma Quarterly. She is Akimblog's Calgary correspondent and can be followed on Instagram.

 

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