Chun Kai Feng, Chun Kai Qun, Sai Hua Kuan and Darren Tesar
Venue: Latent Spaces, Singapore
Photography: Latent Spaces
Artworks (in no particular order)
Digital image print
Stainless steel pole (commissioned) adorned with a kitten tooth palladium chain necklace (commissioned) *
Baseball autographed my Yogi Berra (commissioned)
Yogi Berra has obtained fame as an accomplished baseball player and sports commentator. He is also one of the most quoted sports commentators with his own category of truisms called “Yogisms”. Many of these famous quotations have been bound into books, such as You Can Observe a lot just by Watching, and shared orally as common American expressions. With so much shared use, Yogi Berra’s autographical function as a baseball legend has been eclipsed by his personality as commentator. More often than not, an autograph of Yogi Berra takes the form of a signed “Yogism”.
Yogi Berra is now an online presence and can be easily accessed by his admirers at www.yogiberra.com. In addition to a biography retelling the story of his successful career, the official website contains a telephone number in order to contact the official “Yogi Berra” store. So I decided to call this number in order to acquire an official autograph of one of Yogi’s most famous Truisms - “If you don’t know where you are going you may not get there” - to be included as a possible fan artefact in an upcoming exhibition.
A curt man with a strong New Jersey accent answered the phone and took my inquiry. He told me he was Yogi Berra’s son and the creator of Yogi’s online business. Within a few minutes of conversation I learned the following information: Yogi Berra is eighty-nine years old, he is in poor health, and he cannot autograph any of his “Yogisms” save for his most famous “It ain’t over till it’s over”. He assured me, however, that Yogi could autograph anything sent to him, although the cost would be dependent on the type of object. For example, a baseball would have a different price than a picture or a T-shirt.
Yogi Berra - eighty-nine years old and suffering from dementia – has become a physical manifestation of the last truism he can autograph. His son runs a business where his father, day after day, writes onto people’s mailed objects his timeless mantra. The objects, having been autographed, are then disseminated around the world and put on display in various sporting museums and private collections. Like an artist, yet very much unlike an artist, Yogi Berra has streamlined his practice (or been streamlined) into a single articulation to be shared in common. Hundreds of quotes have fallen away - in this case from the degradation of memory - into one perfect manifestation of truth; a truly existential offering for an old man who has now become the truth of his own truism. “It ain’t over till it’s over”.
* No harm was done to any cats. The kitten teeth were collected as the
artist’s cat shed them naturally