Antiquity-Like Rubbish Research & Development Syndicate

Yeh Wei-Li (b. 1971, Taipei)

1. Free-Standing Sculpture: 357cm(W) x 88cm(L) x 155cm(H)
2. Multi-Leveled Wooden Glass Cabinetry x3, each size: 180cm(W) x46cm(L) x 245cm(H)
3. Metal & Wood Table With Toy with Wood Block Construction: 180cm(W) x 60cm(L) x 80cm(H)
4. Free Standing Light-Box Stacked Column x2, each size: 110cm(W) x 110cm(L) x 275cm(H)
5. Wooden Lightbox Display Table and Stand x4, each size: 120cm(W) x 100cm(L) x 60cm(H)
6. Free Standing Sculpture on Floor with Clear Marked Framed Borders: 175cm(W) x 175cm(L) x 60cm(H)
7. Receptionist Table With Two Chairs: 120cm(W) x 100cm(L) x 60cm(H)


Presented by Hanart TZ Gallery

Image Courtesy of the Artist and Hanart TZ Gallery

Yeh Wei-Li was born in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1971, and emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of eleven. As a teenager in Tampa, Florida, Yeh was fascinated by heavy metal music and aspired to be a rock-and-roll photographer. He consequently studied photography at the University of South Florida (BFA 1994) and later received a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design (1997). Graduate workshops at Brown University’s experimental Literary Arts Program and a three-month visit to Taiwan in 1996 (his first since emigrating), fueled his thesis work on themes of displacement, assimilation, cultural identity and racial politics. Relocating to New York City, Yeh exhibited work at Columbia University, New York University, Bronx Museum of Art and the International Center of Photography. Yeh presented his seminal photography work, Guest: On the Subject of Home, at his “Septemberly” Brooklyn studio in December 2001, shortly after 9/11. Since returning to live permanently in Taiwan in 2002, Yeh has been active as an artist, curator and instigator. Yeh’s work is shown and collected internationally, and his photographic and text-based projects continue to explore the dynamics of the individual within collective practices, centering on both the personal and the socio-political relationships between the self and the city in which he resides. His collective and collaborative-based practice is seen in major projects such as Treasure Hill Tea + Photo (THTP) and the ongoing Antiquity-like Rubbish Research & Development Syndicate. Yeh lives and works in Yangmei. 

Every object assumes a name, a place, a value, and utilitarian or symbolic meaning. Much of a society‘s labor is spent keeping objects and their classifications pure and stable (above all, in the name of safety or cultural values). But before, underneath, and after this order, there is plenty of uncertainty and impurity. Antiquity-Like Rubbish Research & Development Syndicate, led by artist Yeh Wei-Li since 2010, is dedicated to this uncertainty and to the movement of things across boundaries.


This process-oriented work began in 2010 with a concrete spatial renovation project in which sixteen artists collaborated, and has since materialized in different temporary collaborations involving various forms of production, reflection, and media. The project maps the processes and movements among the categories of “art,” “antiquity,” and “trash.” The precarious balance between these categories functions like a map that registers “transformation” in the order of society, whether this be devaluation and destruction in urban renewal, or value-production in commodity capitalism, or the quasi-magical production of “value” in art.


Each of these three categories delineates a class of objects beyond utility. “Trash” designates objects that have become value-less. Objects here literally “fall apart” and become “impure” and “undifferentiated,” that is, without clear borders—hence the affinity of trash with monstrosity. It is in this realm of hybridity that the project finds its materials: objects salvaged during spatial renovation projects, objects from illegal roadside dumping grounds, neighborhood construction sites, beaches, and riverbeds. Can such discarded debris be “elevated” and achieve the status of either “antiquity” or “art” through analysis, evaluation, and aesthetic judgment? Can it simultaneously challenge the hierarchy between trash and art—its connection, for instance, to the classifying and evaluating institutions of the museum, the market, or individual authorship, and its disconnection from everyday collective practice, life, and locality? (Anselm Frank)

Subscribe to our Newsletter