Press Release

Pirelli HangarBicocca presents Metaspore, the most comprehensive exhibition ever realized devoted to Anicka Yi (Seoul, 1971; lives and works in New York). The artist emerged as one of the most radical figures on the art scene during the late 2000s, working on themes that lie between art and science.

Featuring more than 20 installations from 2010 until today, the show at Pirelli HangarBicocca, conceived as a sensory and synesthetic experience, questions the boundaries between natural and synthetic, human and non-human, materiality and immateriality. Yi’s work generates narratives that combine philosophical questions with sci-fi imagery, and creates connections between biology and literature, life and storytelling, taking an approach defined as “bio-fiction.”



International exhibitions

International ongoing exhibitions

Anicka Yi, Metaspore

Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (Italy)

24.02 - 24.07.2022




Curated by Fiammetta Griccioli and Vicente Todolí, Metaspore explores Anicka Yi’s work over the last decade characterized by the use of perishable and industrial materials in assemblages that defy the immutable nature of sculpture and installation.

The title—a neologism coined by Anicka Yi by juxtaposing the prefix “meta” to “spore”—metaphorically evokes the process of proliferation that the artist employs in her work, which contaminates and is contaminated by its surroundings. Metaspore has thus been conceived as a survey of Yi’s most iconic works and follows a multisensory and immersive path, centered on the one hand on the olfactory dimension—with a series of works that feature fragrances—and, on the other, on the dynamics of the transformation of matter, such as corrosion and metabolic processes. For the occasion, the artist and her studio collaborated with the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Milano-Bicocca University to create an expanded and updated version of Biologizing the Machine (terra incognita), originally presented at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019.

Commissioned and produced for Pirelli HangarBicocca, the new work, titled Biologizing the Machine (spillover zoonotica), 2022, is composed by seven large glass display cases housing a Winogradsky culture (named after the Russian microbiologist who invented this device for the development of microorganisms), a locally created ecosystem combining soil bacteria, cyanobacteria and algae. Through cycles of growth, stasis, and decay, the installation reacts to the surrounding environment: the organisms take different colors, generating “suspended paintings” that alter during the exhibition period.

By combining works that probe the idea of embodiment along with others focused on the hybridization of living beings and machines, Metaspore reveals essential themes in Yi’s practice, such as the co-existence of different organisms, nonhuman forms of intelligence, identity and social injustice.

View of Anicka Yi: Metaspore, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Photo: Agostino Osio

Exhibition 24 February - 24 July 2022. Pirelli HangarBicocca, Via Chiese, 2 - 20126 Milan (Italy). T +39 02 6611 1573.  Hours: Thursday–Sunday 10:30am–8:30pm.





Anicka Yi, Metaspore, Pirelli HangarBiccoca, Milan, Italy

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2022. All Rights Reserved

View of Anicka Yi: Metaspore, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan, 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Photo: Agostino Osio