For her first solo exhibition at Galerie Noah Klink in Berlin, Alison Yip approached a neo-shaman and a psychic with an identical set of questions. She inquired about her future, her relationship with the gallerist hosting the exhibition, the title and the techniques or material she should use. Following multiple in-person and remote sessions including a stone oracle, two shamanic divination journeys, several card decks, and a coffee grind reading, Yip obtained some answers. These answers became part of a chain of interpretation as they turned into her medium to produce meaningful images, prefiguring painting’s own process of mediation.

Two distinct and contradictory scenarios emerged and gave rise to two series of small oil paintings envisioning parallel futures. In accordance with the respective readings, Yip painted one series on various pieces of metal, and another one on marble-print laminate floor tiles layered with collaged scraps of paper from her daily life. A marionette-like figure representing the artist is seen in Milan or in her hometown of Calgary — she is writing her first novel or working at a swan boat rental, marrying a rich Italian man of fashion instead of the woman she truly loves, or reluctantly unpacking a special edition scarf for an upcoming exhibition.

Yip’s pictures exert a plasticity reminiscent of Northern Renaissance paintings and their nonlinear approach to perspective. In her genre scenes, figures are incongruously contained within the pictorial space allotted to their bodies and the objects that surround them, while the thin membrane of the vignettes allow the predicted scenarios to bleed onto the more tangible reality of the substrate. Pinned to the plastic covered walls of the gallery in mid-renovation, these scenarios belong to a wide array of provisional narratives — the kind we all construct to bricolage our way forward.

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