Commonwealth and Council

Open Fence

Yukako Ando


Open Fence, Yukako Ando’s second exhibition at Commonwealth and Council, features a playful take on quotidian habits of privacy. Building upon research started in Germany in 2016, Ando takes inspiration from residential security screens—stylized locking gates often installed over doors and windows.

Profound tensions animate these objects. Imposed to bar access, they also serve as decoration, while the property owners protected inside find themselves imprisoned in cells of their own making. Ando dislodges the screens from their usual context and remakes them as handmade walnut frames—enlarged, with their lattices opened up to allow the thought of passing through—coyly inset with playing cards as well as magnetic stripe cards. We cling to our ID like a poker hand: it facilitates movement through public life, even as it pins us down. Ando unlocks the gates of our insularity, showing us past the apparent risk of exposure and theft, towards a reconsideration of our subdivided communities, our parcelled selves.

A large sculpture made from security fencing—unwoven, stretched, wrapped in multi-colored heat shrink tubing—unravels the restrictive mesh to its component strands. In this form, the material takes on the character of wires, antennae, or feelers, beckoning us to join an anarchic exchange of information. This array unfurls across the exhibition, a break in the fence for the artist to sneak in.

Yukako Ando (b. 1972, Osaka, Japan; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, and Düsseldorf, Germany) received her BA from Kyoto Seika University and MA from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Ando has had solo exhibitions at SG1 Kunstraum, Duisberg (2018), Matthias Erntges Galerie, Düsseldorf (2016), Emil Gallery Studio, Tampere, Finland (2015), 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2014), Schuebbe Projects, Düsseldorf (2013), and Field Sculpture, Bonn (2012). She has participated in group exhibitions at RAUM für Kunst, Düsseldorf (2019), Kunstmuseum Mülheim an der Ruhr (2017), Galerie von der Milwe, Aachen (2016), 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica (2016), OpenART 2015, Örebro, Sweden (2015), and the Kanagawa Arts Theatre (2014). Selected awards and residencies include an 18th Street Arts Center Visiting Artist Residency, Santa Monica (2014), the Overseas Study Program for Artists, Agency for Cultural Affairs (Bunka-cho), Japan (2013), a Künstlerdorf Schöppingen Foundation Grant for New Media (2013), and the 65th Bergischer Kunstpreis (2011).