To what extent is our perception of the world shaped by how we measure it? Is there ever an adequate measure of affection? These are among the questions debated in Yee I-Lann’s exhibition”Hello! Amatai! Hello!one of a series or five simultaneous events timed to coincide with the artist’s traveling investigation ‘Borneo Heart’. The gallery exhibition brings together three photographic essays from Yee’s recent collaborations with Bajau Laut weavers and other indigenous communities in Borneo. The first one, “saying shave”, 2014–21, manifests itself in a constellation of dye-sublimation prints on navy-tinted aluminum. From a distance, the images resemble a cryptic alphabet of neon orange hieroglyphs, inducing a palinopsia through the juxtaposition of complementary colors. Upon closer inspection, this script turns into a pair of arms that hug, struggle, and squeeze. These members bear no identifying markers, merely serving as an undiluted symbol of both love and conflict. With a little imagination, one can decipher the messages coded under these scribbles of arms, like these snippets of love poems, steeped in the desire for intimacy, which open the fourth chapter of the series. The title means “to feel love” or “the feeling of love” in Bahasa Malaysia, a translation that subtly bleeds into the brightly colored printed sheets, with their cryptic poetry and tinge of illusion. It is perhaps at the intersection of these elements that we can potentially learn to measure love: through the length of an embrace.

In the seven-chapter “Measuring Project”, 2021-2022, Yee explores two world systems: the egalitarian system tikar (mat), an invitation to harvest calibrated to the body of its weaver, and the reigning meja (table), which inflicts its inorganic geometries on nearby bodies. In the meantime, Untitled self-portrait, 2017, weaves together threads of visual-kinesthetic memories of Yee’s artistic evolution. The work pays particular attention to the artist’s return in 2016 from Kuala Lumpur to the heart of Borneo, a testament to his commitment to collective decolonization and his open embrace of indigenous ways of experiencing the world around us.

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