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Yi Toh & Chi Cheng

We are delighted to present 'Embodied Light' in collaboration with Brit Pruiksma, founder of MothFlower, featuring new works by Yi To and Chi Cheng.

With a shared interest in understanding the meaningful, transcendental, and transformative processes of being alive, Yi To and Chi Cheng explore “light” as the dominant force permeating through the multilayered realms of existence. Together, their luminous paintings weave a narrative of that which connects us all. Each work gently invites contemplation of form and abstraction, the tangible and the ephemeral, and that which is visible and enigmatic. Simultaneously, their combined body of work is a homage to the vast space ever-present between seemingly opposing pairs, bringing to light the unity and wholeness hidden within all things.

Chi’s work embarks on an excavation to capture the instability of presence between abstraction and reification. The narratives depict an allegorical representation of human existence shaped by memories, dreams, cultures and collective consciousness in this world of artificiality and nature. The forms in painting serve as a mediator between realms of the tangible and intangible, the visible and sensible - a path that lies beyond the plurality of the conditioned world and goes into the realm of limitless.

The teachings and antiquity of Buddhist, Taoist mural remains and other spiritual and cultural significants have informed his aesthetics - the luminous and metaphorical power of these painting projects an ontological reflection into the forms where self-realisation towards enlightenment is possible. In traditional Chinese aesthetics, paintings are recognised as an expression of the painter’s ideal world where the shape of mountains and the flows of water act as a reinterpretation of reality. It’s a utopia, a self-portrait and a microscopic creation parallel to the microscope of the entire universe.

Using diluted oil paint, Yi To layers unscripted images, hinting at gestural form and ephemeral presence, a hand, a foot, a body and these forms are connected and merged. Individual presence is enveloped by a collective form. It is this idea of connectedness that is fundamental in Yi's practice. A connectedness that ties the collective together, of breathing the same oxygen, the cycle of life and the same collective experience and fundamental longing for answers shared by humanity across history. Furthermore, we are united by a connectedness to nature, or perhaps more increasingly a neglected connection to the natural world. Yi is interested in the materiality of painting, the visual and consciousness-awaking power of different qualities and textures on the canvas and how these are able to re-engage a long- neglected resonance between ourselves and nature. "I am inspired heavily by cave paintings from across the world, particularly interested in how the time washed surfaces and natural colours possess an immense power which is capable of uplifting an immediate sense of belonging in the viewer to the Mother Earth. Using specific material on the canvas, I am trying to deliver an experience of a passage of time and the quality of timelessness at the same time that can be shared by humanity across all borders." Yi To

"Only by questioning, can we finally be grounded in the present and just 'live'. Through art making, one is inventing a different lens through which a spectrum of possibilities can be opened up. Precisely because our own existence is an enigma, there is hope. And hope is a beautiful ingredient". Yi To.


7 - 24 July 2021


Yi To, b.1995, Hong Kong. Lives and works in London. Yi recently received her MA Painting (2019-2021) from the Royal College of Art, London. Recent exhibition include 'Royal College of Art Graduation Show, Cromwell Place, London, 2021; Still @live, MAPA Fine Art, London, 2021; Final, not Over - again, Unit 1 Gallery Workshop, London, 2021; Deep Cut, Asylum Chapel, London, 2021; Snapshot, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London Work-in-progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2020; The Weird and the Eerie, Hockney Gallery, Royal College of Art, London, 2020; Forced Empathy, Stanley Picker Gallery, London, 2019.

Chi Cheng, b.1996, Taiwan. Lives and works in London, UK & Sanyi, Taiwan. Chi Cheng recently received his BA (Hons) Fine Art, Chelsea College of Art, London. Deep Cut. The Asylum Chapel, Maverick Projects, London, 2021; Pith of the Pithless, The Crypt Gallery, London 2020; YIXIANG ㄧ象異相, No Space, 2020; Transience, Chelsea College of Art, London, 2019; Being and Becoming”, off-site project, London, 2019. Chi Cheng is the recipient of "Vision for Kindness" 2021, International open call Project by The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center and the winning scholar Painters’ Company Scholarships 2019, The Worshipful Company of Painter- Stainers, London.

Yi Toh & Chi Cheng
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