Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork: Like a Breath of Fresh Water

September 22 – December 2, 2023

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork combines sound and objects to facilitate embodied experiences. Gork’s multi-part installations cast the viewer in the role of active participant as sculptural and sonic forms interact with each other and with us in a choreographic interplay. Using evocative materials such as human hair, felt, acoustic foam, and latex, Gork’s works often move and change shape while emitting sounds gathered from the surrounding environment. The specific features of a site are integral to the fabric of the work—footsteps, conversations, room acoustics, and other ambient sounds are recorded, remixed, and played on speakers as an interactive sound composition. The output is often a beguiling cacophony; a multi-layered feedback loop that continues to evolve over time.

Over the past six years, Gork has created inflatable sculptures that occupy a range of spaces from basements to gallery courtyards. These soft sculptures, like many of her works, are large, amorphous shapes that emit sounds and attune visitors to the specific architectural features of a site. The inflatables are kept aloft by blowers, which are an essential element of the sounds one hears while experiencing these works. Never fully inflated or deflated, but in a constant state of flux, of becoming and evolving, they contract and collapse like breathing organisms. At the Visual Arts Center (VAC), a new inflatable in the shape of a Japanese stone lantern from the artist’s personal collection will fill the gallery, incorporating sounds collected from the fountain in the VAC’s courtyard. The installation marks Gork’s first representational inflatable work. Together, the sounds of blowers, of flowing water, of visitors, and of the VAC’s interior space will transform the gallery into an interactive indoor sonic garden.

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork: Like a Breath of Fresh Water is organized by MacKenzie Stevens, former director, and Melissa Fandos, VAC curatorial fellow, 2023–2024.

Major support for this project is generously provided by the Kaleta A. Doolin Foundation. The Artist-in-Residence program at the Visual Arts Center (VAC) is supported by the VAC Artist-in-Residence Endowed Fund.

Audio equipment courtesy of Meyer Sound, Berkeley, California.
Special thanks to Inflatable Signs, Fort Worth, Texas.



Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork (b. 1982, Long Beach, CA) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. Gork earned their BFA in photography and focused on sound art, new genres, and performance from the San Francisco Art Institute (2004) and an MFA from Stanford University where they focused on the history of communication technologies, acoustics, and computer music (2011). Gork has had solo exhibitions at Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2023); Empty Gallery, Hong Kong (2017, 2021); 356 S. Mission Rd, Los Angeles (2017); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2017); Luckman Fine Arts Center at Cal State, Los Angeles (2017); The Lab, San Francisco (2016); amongst others. Their work has also been featured in group exhibitions at MAC Center Los Angeles (2022); Made in LA 2020: a version at the Hammer Museum (2021); Instrument Inventors, The Hague (2022); San Francisco Art Institute (2021); SculptureCenter, New York (2019); Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2018); SFMoMA, San Francisco (2017); V-A-C Foundation, Moscow (2017); Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) (2016, 2011); amongst others. They have received grants from the VIA Art Fund 2020, San Francisco Arts Commission (2009, 2015), the Center for Cultural Innovation (2014), and the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA (2011). They were in residence at Schloss Solitude (2018–2019), Mills College (2015), EMPAC (2014), and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2011).

Como un respiro de fresca agua de vida

Jacqueline Kiyomi Gork combina sonido y objetos para facilitar experiencias corporales. En sus instalaciones de múltiples componentes, Gork nos coloca en el papel activo de participantes rodeados de formas escultóricas y sonoras que interactúan entre sí y con nosotros en una relación coreográfica. Utilizando materiales evocadores como cabello humano, fieltro, espuma acústica y látex, las obras de Gork a menudo se mueven y cambian de forma mientras emiten sonidos recolectados del entorno. Las características específicas de un sitio son parte integral de la estructura de la obra: pasos, conversaciones, la acústica de la galería y otros sonidos ambientales se graban, remezclan y reproducen en bocinas en una composición sonora interactiva. A menudo el resultado es una cacofonía seductora; un circuito de retroalimentación de múltiples capas que continúa evolucionando con el tiempo.

Durante los últimos seis años, Gork ha creado esculturas inflables que ocupan diferentes espacios, desde sótanos hasta los patios de galerías. Estas esculturas suaves, como muchas de sus obras, son formas amorfas que emiten sonidos y sintonizan a los visitantes con las características arquitectónicas específicas de un lugar. Los inflables se mantienen en el aire mediante sopladores, un elemento esencial de los sonidos que se escuchan al experimentar estas obras. Como organismos que respiran, nunca se encuentran completamente infladas o desinfladas, sino en un constante estado de flujo, de devenir y evolución, de contracción y colapso. En el Visual Arts Center (VAC), un nuevo inflable con forma de linterna de piedra japonesa de la colección personal de la artista habitará la galería, incorporando sonidos recolectados de­­ la fuente en el patio del VAC. Esta instalación marca la primera obra inflable figurativa de Gork. Juntos, los sonidos de los sopladores, del agua que fluye, de los visitantes y del espacio interior del VAC, transformarán la galería en un jardín sonoro e interactivo.

cover of publication for Like a Breath of Fresh Water

An interview with Jacqueline Kyomi Gork  PDF

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