K. Yoland

Born in London and based between Europe and the United States, transdisciplinary artist K. Yoland firmly situates their research in highlighting and challenging inequality and oppression. Examining the nature of identity, power and borders in our society, Yoland often works site-specific, using performative actions.

Utilizing live-performance, video, photography, installation and text, Yoland has worked with both trained professionals and volunteers. Previous projects have included: debating immigration with a kidnapped tumbleweed inside a bullet proof box whilst canoeing the US/ Mexico border along the Rio Grande; choreographing Danish dancers in a three hour “war installation”, examining the 2003 televised bombing of Baghdad; and performing with Olympic fencers on scaffolding in London, exploring the choreography of conflict.

International exhibitions include Ringling Museum, Sarasota; Pensacola Museum, Florida; Pulse PLAY Miami, art fair special projects; Habitat III conference, United Nations, Quito; The Lisson Gallery, London; Talley Dunn Gallery, Dallas; Turner Contemporary, UK; Alan Cristea Gallery, London; Oklahoma Contemporary; CZKD (Serbia), Center for Book Arts (NYC), Novosibirsk State Art Museum (Russia) and Nederland’s Fotomuseum. In 2010, Yoland was selected for the Southwark Award, 18 month artist-in-Residence with Acme and South London Gallery. Subsequent residencies include Marfa Contemporary (West Texas), CentralTrak (Dallas), Changarito (Mexico City) and research at AZ West (Mojave Desert).

Yoland lectures in socio-politically engaged art practice, and video design for stage and installation, at US and UK universities. Yoland produced Constructive Forces for Resonance 104.4 FM (London, 2017-18), a weekly radio program talking to artists and specialists about social, political and environmental concerns of our time, and previously hosted Talk at Ten for Marfa Public Radio (West Texas, 2013-14).

Artist’s Statement

Identity, power, and borders exist within the smallest communities and the largest nations. As an artist, researching current affairs and history, I seek to examine and question the nature of divisions, territory, and freedom in our society. 

Although my methods vary depending on the location and project, a performative component intertwined with diverse mediums remains consistent, as does the presence and influence of trained professionals and volunteers. Examples of projects include directing a haircut between a barber and soldier in the desert, choreographing dancers in a video installation of televised war segments from the US bombing of Baghdad and performing with Olympic fencers on scaffolding in London, whilst learning the ‘art of winning at armed conflict.’ Regularly working with video, photography, text, installation and live performance, the body or it’s absence is ever-present. The evolution of my practice is influenced as much from literature, theater, contemporary dance, and world cinema as it is informed by the history of performance art, video-art and photography. 

The framework of these interdisciplinary experiments lies in the intersection of documentary with allegory, combining performance with everyday actions, as well as group-participation and site-specific interventions. More recent projects involve researching the history or current affairs of a community or individual. It is important that projects develop slowly, through listening, understanding, and collaborating with a diverse community of ideas. This was the case when I researched the effects of urban planning and segregation in Dallas, as well as the concept of the alien and the other on the US/Mexico border. Often working long term and on-site with a project, I use my camera on location as a notebook before staging images, performances or filming. Regularly spending time making diagrammatic sketches in my studio and searching for archival imagery and articles in libraries, there is a natural development for each project. Site visits and active research in the field has led to meeting and working with a diverse range of people, including hairdressers, mechanics, and butchers in ‘You and I’ (Paris), or oil riggers, ranchers and border patrol agents (US/Mexico border). My methodology for investigating power and control in our society is to use an interdisciplinary approach to combine performance, text, portraits and physical activities while reflecting on human history. My goals continue to include revealing the memories, actions or dynamics of repression while promoting a more open and free discourse for change and dignity.