Skip to content
Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Open from Tuesday to
Sunday 12 pm → 6 pm

Admission always free
28 Jan 22until1 May 22

Alison Yip

Soma Topika

Alvin Balkind Gallery

A close up view of a painting depicting three seated figures, the central one is a life-size wooden doll, surrounded by two humans with crossed legs holding paper notes.

Across her work in painting, wall treatments, writing, and sculpture, artist Alison Yip moves between the observational and the speculative. Known for an ongoing concern with the ambiguities and ambivalences of figuration and perception, Yip’s works often evoke transitional states, mystical forms and psychic or spiritual phenomena to consider the disconnected ways humans experience time, space, self, and relationships.

Reflecting on the radical systems failures and temporal shifts of the current moment, Yip’s most recent body of work, Soma Topika, led her to look for ways to envision alternative futures. Undertaking parallel divinatory processes, Yip engaged both a neo-shaman and a psychic, posing to each an identical set of questions about her life, relationships and desires. From this, she produced two sets of intimate oil paintings, depicting herself in each as a poseable mannequin in scenes that interpret the concurrent yet contradictory predictions delivered to her. Rendered on unconventional substrates — scraps of metal for the psychic’s predictions and laminate floor tiles for the neo-shaman’s — Yip presents these works at CAG amidst a gallery under renovation, offering a scene that is as provisional and unfixed as the futures she seeks.


Alison Yip‘s multidisciplinary practice finds ways of speaking to the dispersed nature of our cognitive apparatus, often working from the psycho-phenomenal origins of figuration. Ambivalent tensions are evoked through a mix of withholding expressions, over-used or popular imagery and various pictorial modes. Yip holds a BFA from the Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Canada. She continued her studies at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany and in 2016 received an MFA from the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg, Germany. Recent solo, collaborative and group exhibitions include Galerie Noah Klink, Berlin; Mauer, Cologne; Mécènes du Sud, Montpellier; Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund; Monte Clark Gallery, Vancouver; ACUD, Berlin; and Lady Helen, London.