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Oscar Yi Hou

by | Jun 27, 2020

Age: 21
New York, USA
@oscyhou (IG)

Published on ArtPremium Magazine Winter 2020, page 90.

Oscar yi Hou is a 21 year old visual artist based in New York City. His work is first and foremost driven by a desire to paint humanness, and is rooted in the human condition. He deploys a visual language of hybridity through his paintings. Influenced heavily by his own diasporic upbringing, his paintings express a certain hybridity of Occident and Orient, though he refuses a clear answer or categorisation. He is currently a student at Columbia University.


In what ways can we cross, intervene into, or burn the very border depicted by the  “/ ” of “this/that”? yi Hou attempts to refuse the either/or, opting instead to embody a neither-here-nor-there. Within the tension of his perpetual inbetweenness, yi Hou opts to deploy a syncretic iconography and set-of-symbols that disrupts and remixes traditional relations of meanings between the binarism of East/West.

How can we go beyond formal representationalism in painting as a politics? Attempting to go beyond an uncomplicated queer representational politics, yi Hou questions attempts at the implied containment, foreclosure, and typification done unto represented subjects, particularly those in the margins. To this end, he maintains the relationality of his works, positing that their past, present, and futures are not foreclosed by the boundary of the canvas, opting to create his own arbitrary boundaries to show the contingency of any material border. Suggesting fabulation or imagination as recourse to the confinement of realism, yi Hou invents symbols, artefacts, and scenes within his paintings. Through these interventions of imagination, yi Hou formulates new possibilities for queerness, Yellowness, and diasporic becoming.