Yu-Wen Wu has always used immigration as a central theme within her work, and Internal Navigation presents no deviation. She uses a plethora of different devices and materials to culminate the complex aspects of her migration story. Things like tea leaves, gold, bamboo reeds and paper are all masterfully embedded into the respective pieces of the exhibition to convey the intricate elements of her very human cycle.
To quote the artist about Internal Navigation herself, “I address lifelong interests and questions that resonate for me. It is largely about interconnections, movement, migration, and displacement. As someone who immigrated at an early age, the conversations around assimilation and the position of being Asian American are all part of my experience and my inquiries.”
The artist starts off with drawings partnered with installations and navigates you through the beginning of her long and impactful journey. Titled Yes, No, Maybe, the first series in Wu’s collection, uses blocks passed down from her grandmother as a metaphor for the unknown obstacles that arise with immigrating somewhere completely foreign.
Paralleled with the idea of longing for a better life, the next piece in the exhibition titled Intentions intertwines these themes with Buddhist mala beads. Designed with tea leaves and woven together by red strings forming flawless golden spheres, the work resides on a pedestal for everyone to reflect and becomes the perfect transition into the rest of the exhibition. Wu then vibrantly takes viewers on a voyage through her past, present and future where one learns the quintessential aspects of an immigration experience.