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Visual Communication (MA)

Yongxin Gao

Yongxin Gao is Chinese a visual artist and designer based in London. 

Her practice explored the relationship between urban space, nature and humans, and specializes mainly. Mainly specializing in graphic design, illustration, sculpture, book design and photography. She believes that nature contains the wisdom and energy of life, most of her creative inspiration comes from walking and observing in nature. During her studies at RCA, she connected her critical understanding of spatial concepts with art practice, which aims to guide viewers to get more reflection from ecology. 

A fluffy seed with little eyes.

Mushrooms defy the rules—challenging categorisation and boundaries. Mycelium is the root of mushrooms. As people walk through the forest, there is a huge network that intertwines and spreads under the soil. An astounding 500km of mycelium lies beneath our feet with each step.

Reflecting on our daily life, we live as the nutrition of the city in our invisible life network, b. But at the same time, we have lost some sensibility and vitality of life. How to awaken people's sensibility to life in contemporary society, observe and feel the space we live in and observe ourselves from a new perspective is an issue that I want to explore. Mycelium not only has sustainable development value, but more importantly, they offer a life philosophy.

500km Under the Soil - Sound, 3’13”

“500km under the soil” is a painting installation. The work aims to use mycelium cycle life forms and communication networks to inspire people to understand life and space from the mycelium perspective. Detaching ourselves from the traditional idea of life and death, then go beyond time and space to feel the power and connection of life.

The work is composed of sound and visual elements. 

In the sound element, Yongxin uses sound as a navigation tool to provide a clue for the audience to be aware and pay attention to the mycelium. At the same time sound blurs the boundaries of work, echoing the never-ending life of the mycelium.

Three sticks held up six sewing paintings, some thread grow out of the pics.
500km Under the Soil - Object, Composite material, 40cm*40cm*180cm

In the visual element, Yongxin shows a dynamic life by stacking six images in a circle and hanging them on a shelf shaped like tree branches. The viewer cannot distinguish the beginning and end of the image which represents an endless life cycle. Yongxin abstractly symbolized microscopic images of mycelium during the spore stage to the hyphal knot stage of the growth process. Through sewing and painting, the audience is inspired to think about the meaning of different shapes and find similarities between them and the maps created by humans, so as to feel the vitality and wisdom of mycelium.

some thread jump out of the paper
Radial sewing, consisting of curved, random threads
500km Under the Soil-Details

Yognxin hopes that the work can provide a space for the audience to breathe easily in the exhibition, slow down in the rapid browsing and strong visual stimulation, feel how the mycelium builds the communication network, and feel the life attitude of the mycelium.

sculptures. One is three sticks holding up a plate, and one is mycelium material growing on iron wire, growing mushrooms.
Land Coral-Mycelium, Paper, Mixed Sizes, 2023

This is Yongxin's previous work, inspired by mycelium as well. The project examines the symbiotic and expansive relationship between mycelium and space and explores how this impacts our understanding of boundaries - of spatial, body and consciousness.