ARTFUL ASH Ni's 'Smoke Structure.'
In his video The Instrument From Structure Study I, two young women wearing the dresses sit facing each other at the desk, screw white ends onto the pipes, and blow into them, producing ghostly hoots and train whistles. I don’t know what it means, but the women’s actions, their attire, and the curious sounds they produce all feel part of some purposeful, intriguing other world that I want to know more about.
Ni also offers cast soap stuck into a wire basket, a perch for parrots, a sheet of paper with a ring of real dead bugs, and photos of people sleeping on trains and planes. These artworks feel like an interesting thinker casting about for something that will spark. Some pieces that do are his Smoke Structures, little sculptures of cigarette ash, paint, and glue arching between cigarette ends. They feel like a process one might stumble upon while killing time — and be wowed. It’s like Martha Stewart for the wiseass smoking section. Yellow Peril launched in late 2011, and with its recent run of sharp, often conceptual shows, if feels like they’ve hit their stride.