Artist Talk - Pratt Institute of Fine Art

Studio Writing Symposium - April 26, 2023

Very happy to be a part of  the second annual Studio Writing Symposium dedicated to writing as an essential part of art practice. This year David Yu and Dena Yago in convo with Christine Negus 
Co-organized by Cameron Crawford and Timmy Simonds.

Studio Writing is a program in Writing Across the Curriculum and Humanities & Media Studies working interdisciplinarily with the Fine Arts department at Pratt. Studio Writing supports writing as an essential creative tool for studio artists.
1. Event 

2. David Yu, x-in-waiting: Chiminea, 2020
Photo shows documentation of a performance to video. Artist David Yu is lying face down on several firewood logs that are placed upright in front of a burning chiminea. The fire is large above the chiminea lip. The artist is wearing a grey quilted shirt, blue jeans, blue socks, and black shoes. The artist is looking at his phone.

3. Dena Yago, “Sweet Taste of Aftermath,” 2022, Acrylic and Inkjet on Canvas, 50 x 50 in

Photo shows a printed and mounted square image hanging on a wall. On the image, slightly off center is an irregular circular form with three orbs and many smaller bumps appearing to protrude from it. The form is in greyscale and appears to be from a photograph. On one of three orbs there is text reading: SWEET / TASTE / OF THE / AFTER / MATH as a layer that seems to be applied to the photographic circular form. The other two orbs have dark spots close to their center. On the upper right of the circular form is a moth-like drawing with red, pale blue and brown coloring. As a background to the whole image is a green and tan plaid pattern that is wavy yet regular.

4. Two stills from Christine Negus' video MY BETTER YEARS I (2016) are stacked, separated by an alley, on a white background.  The above image centers a white ceiling fan with a white globe light. The light is not on and the fan is in motion. Long, blurred objects spin from the tips of the fan blades. Below, the fan blades have slowed and the long objects have come into focus, revealing that they are different shaped kitchen knives that dangle in the air. @prattfineart @prattinstitute

Here is the talk in case you missed it !

Virtual Encounters : New Entanglements in Performance and Media

London Ontario Media Arts Association

Presented in partnership with The Art Gallery of Peterborough
March 1st - March 31st, 2023


The performance series I have been working on since 2020, x-in-waiting, is finally launching with the London Ontario Media Arts Association (LOMAA) on March 1st, 2023 in their Virtual Encounters exhibition. The x-in-waiting performance series has now been turned into an app for your mobile devices that you can interact with directly and receive notifications when new performances are added to the work. This meditation app asks viewers to "perform waiting" with me. Four new performances will be released during the month of March. 

Link to the Apple App Store of x-in-waiting

Link to the Android Google Play Store x-in-waiting

Over spring 2023 LOMAA is pleased to facilitate Virtual Encounters: New Entanglements in Performance and Media, which investigates performance art’s newly defined relationship with media. The organization has invited seven artists and one artist duo to present new mediated performances that unsettle their previous modes of creation and address the challenges faced in digital translation. The invited artists span the gamut of performance practices and represent various modalities across the discipline—expanding from, and blurring lines between, embodied movement, sonic interactivity, and intermediality. Virtual Encounters aims to be generative and open possibilities for artists to re-envision their work and to investigate new archival processes, novel (virtual) space, and a wholly different relationship with audiences.

Virtual Encounters has been curated by Christine Negus


LOMAA is excited to launch our series Virtual Encounters with new works by Kite and David Yu. Their works will be available to view online for the entirety of March, and both artists will come together in virtual conversation on Sunday, March 5 at 3 p.m. EST. This talk will additionally be available for viewing the remainder of the month over Vimeo.


x-in-waiting is an app-as-art archive of an ongoing performance to camera series created during the COVID-19 quarantine from 2020 – present day. x-in-waiting refers to the period of stasis that occurs for something to become something else. Here the “x” is the variable and stands in for whatever occupation the artist is consumed with while in waiting. This also extends to the “x” of uncertainty pertaining to where we will find ourselves/society and daily living at the end of this moment in time. The work asks viewers to wait with the artist for eight minutes while he symbolically engages in an occupation that takes up his time.

Download the app and experience waiting with the artist while he is performing waiting. This app will self-destruct when the waiting is over. 

If you missed the artist talk with Kite here it is!

Group Exhibition - Task-Negative

Galerie Nicolas Robert Toronto

October 1 to November 5, 2022
Performance October 8 and 22, 2022

133 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J 2H2

Super excited to be a part of the inaugural exhibition Task-Negative at Galerie Nicolas Robert in their new space on Tecumseth. Come see my new performance Thrice the sapien on October 8 and 22nd. Curated by Alex Bowron


Galerie Nicolas Robert Toronto is pleased to inaugurate its new space with Task-Negative, a group exhibition of works by Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Caroline Cloutier, Sameer Farooq, Angela Grauerholz, Dominic Musa, Laurence Pilon, Devon Pryce, Kylan Sattler, Joseph Tisiga, and David Yu.

Using a wide range of materials and disciplines, the artists in this exhibition are unified by an interest in uncovering malleability within the tyrannical certainty of time. Whether through acts of routine and repetition, a fluid merging of space and memory, or an awareness of the magnitude of geological and ancestral time, each artist is engaged in extending, compressing, holding, or coming to terms with an expanded conception of the temporal. 

Taking its title from a neurological term used to describe the behavior of the brain while idle, Task-Negative argues for the importance of a radically impractical state of wakeful rest. Released from external obligations and not driven by tasks, the brain becomes better suited for free association. It is in this open-ended space where daydreaming resides and the skills required to locate the profoundly mundane are unfocused and lingering. This is the romance of creative practice, and staring at a wall is its discipline.

On October 8 and 22, during regular gallery hours, David Yu will present Thrice the sapien, a new doppelgänger performance that plays with ideas of engagement, disengagement, viewership, banality, and the very idea of performance itself. Performer: Bo Hong Fu.

We would like to thank Bradley Ertaskiran and Olga Korper Gallery for their collaboration, and the Bureau du Québec à Toronto for their support.

Soon and Very Soon

Mayworks Festival 2022

May 26 - May 31, 2022

Hilton Hotel Toronto - 145 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2L2

For the last year I've been working closely with the Toronto and York Region Labour Council and UNITE HERE Local 75 to create a site specific installation Soon and Very Soon, commissioned by Mayworks Festival. It has been an incredible journey. I've met resilient people that have selflessly championed the causes of labour rights and human rights for hotel and hospitality workers. I am deeply honoured to have been involved with this project, which resulted in this new work based on the stories of individuals that have had and experienced a deep impact and change in this sector thanks to the support of union action. 

Deep thanks goes out to Andria Babbington and Daisy Virgo for guiding me through this entire experience, helping me obtain the Hilton Hotel as a site for this project, and trusting me with their stories and lived experiences.

Please join me between May 26 - May 31st, 2022 to experience a site specific installation located in one of the rooms of the Hilton Hotel - 145 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2L2
Some specific instructions:

- You will need to book a time in order to view the work (booking link below)

- Each time has a maximum group size of 8 people

- You will have approximately a half hour to view the work. 

- The invigilator of the exhibition will meet folks in the lobby of Hilton Hotel (follow the signs) in order to bring everyone up to the room together - please aim to arrive early.

I will be invigilating the exhibition for all time slots on Saturday May 28th and Monday May 30th so book on those days if you would like to celebrate with me!

More about the exhibition:

By David Yu in collaboration with UNITE HERE Local 75 and Toronto and York Region Labour Council

“Soon and Very Soon” is a multi-sensory installation that incorporates audio and video interview recordings from current and past members of UNITE HERE Local 75, a union which supports hotel and hospitality workers. This site specific work, set in a Toronto hotel room, pulls together soundbites from multiple hotel workers (room attendants, shop stewards, organizers, housemen) into an oral history grafted onto a representation of the ‘back of house’—an area in the service industry which connotes and supports specific class disparities. The title refers to a song which the UNITE HERE Local 75 choir recorded and that reflects a shared community of people who gather in order to advocate for better labour rights for themselves and for future generations.

The site ceremoniously brings invisible narratives back to their location of inception and celebrates the successes of how far this industry has come in terms of workers rights. It relives the narratives which we would rather forget in a field deemed “unskilled” and sings the songs that lifts us up as a community that cares for one another. It shows us that no matter where we stand, the fictitious boundaries erected between environments do not matter—there is no ‘back of house’.

This project was developed through Mayworks’ Labour Arts Catalyst where Yu was paired with writer Paul-Daniel Torres. Guided by Yu’s artistic practice and research, Torres wrote “Hey Mama 2”, a poem inspired by the stories of UNITE HERE Local 75.

Link to the exhibition here:
The direct link for booking a viewing time slot is here:

Hope you can make it!

Artist Talk with Art Gallery of Peterborough's Curator Fynn Leitch
April 24th at 2pm EST - Facebook Live

Join us for a Facebook Live Stream with artist David Yu on Saturday, April 24 at 2pm!

AGP Curator, Fynn Leitch, will chat with David about his practice, lockdowns, and playing with expectations. 

Portions of David Yu’s “x-in-waiting” are installed in “Presently.” An ongoing series created during the COVID-19 quarantine, each video documents an 8-minute durational performance for the camera in which the artist symbolically engages in a form of meditation/occupation of his choosing using household items to playfully acknowledge the current situation. 

Yu has been exploring the limits of gallery space, heterotopias, and the potential of artist-viewer relationships throughout his practice, generating situations for audiences to navigate and setting conditions for accidental and intentional participatory experiences. Yu is based in Toronto and his work has been presented across the globe including Canada, USA, Ireland, and Kenya. 

This event is free and does not require advanced registration. Can’t make it? Don’t worry! The talk will be posted in full, with captions, after the live stream is finished.

Art Gallery of Peterborough's Facebook:

If you missed the artist talk here it is - check it out :)

March 2021

x-in-waiting featured in The Social Distancing Festival

Happy to have the latest x-in-waiting performances featured in The Social Distancing Festival. This ongoing micro-performance series is quickly becoming quite the catalogue of experiences reacting to/living within this pandemic. This series is slowly being turned into an app later this year - so stay tuned !!  


"The Social Distancing Festival is an online artist’s community made to celebrate and showcase the work of the many artists around the world who have been affected by the need for social distancing that has come about due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). "

-Nick Green and The Social Distancing Project Team


Check out the project profiled here:

November 2020 - May 2021

Hi Folks! If you are near Peterborough, Ontario pop into the Art Gallery of Peterborough where I am a part of a juried exhibition!

Presently, represents the current collective moment that we find ourselves within a pandemic. I am showing two installations connected to performance-for-videos via QR code from my series x-in-waiting.  

"This moment, complex and layered, merits a complicated response. Gathered here are works bringing forward themes of transition, anxiety, frustration, comfort, boredom, resistance, vulnerability, urgency, and resilience. Expressed through painting, needlework and textile, installation, film and video, photography, pottery, image transfer, drawing, text, collage, printmaking, assemblage performance, and sculpture, a conversation between artists who may never meet face-to-face hums and ticks in aggregate." 


November 26, 2020 - May 2, 2021

Gallery open only by appointment Thursday - Sunday 11am - 5pm

December 2020 - TBD

Super honoured to be included in the Quarantine Qapsule curated by Tea Base in partnership with Myseum. A supercut trailer of my ongoing x-in-waiting project was included in this online exhibition! The archive is now online--just google Quarantine Qapsule or go to the Myseum website. Here is a direct link to my page of the archive:

This digital archive records the Asian Canadian experience during COVID-19 - there's a huge range of projects, which is interesting just to peruse through and see snapshots into people's lives and their creativity!

September 2020

Thank you Ontario Arts Council for the Mid-career Visual Artist Creation Projects Grant. Looking forward to spending the year continuing my research and practice with a new body of work.

August 13th - Sept 4th, 2020

In mid August I was able to launch a new experimental nomadic contemporary fine art space No Vacancy Projects with our first exhibition Neighbourhood Watch: the rented house. This site is a domestic house at 29 O'Hara Ave, Main Floor in Parkdale, Toronto. 

Artists: Sandra Brewster, Kaya Joan, Laura Moore, James Rollo, Cindy Baker

Check out the above links to find out more about the project, the individual artists, and the works in the exhibition

May 2020
x-in-waiting: Wine

During the quarantine i've been playing with a series of micro performances based off of things that occupy my life at the moment. Naturally the first one in the series is wine. 



x-in-waiting is an ongoing performance to camera series created during quarantine. x-in-waiting refers to the period of stasis that occurs for something to become something else. Here the “x” is the variable and stands in for whatever occupation the artist is consumed with while in waiting. This also extends to the “x” of uncertainty pertaining to where we will find ourselves/society and daily living at the end of this quarantine. The work asks viewers to wait with the artist for eight minutes while he symbolically engages in an occupation.

August 2019
Thank you Canada Council for the Arts!

Very honoured to have received a Canada Council for the Arts' explore and create grant. Looking forward to diving into a year of research and studio production.

July 2019
Locust Projects : The 20th Anniversary Retrospective 

Just got my copy of the The 20th Anniversary Retrospective of Locust Projects ! FYI i'm represented closer to the back of the catalogue with my project Oracular Spectacular for the 20/20 Exhibition: 20 Artists/20 hours. It's pretty beautiful. Designed and printed by Tra Publishing.

Here's a link to the book:

Zero Gravity International Performance Art Festival 

May 16 - 19

Last week I had the opportunity to perform alongside 18 Canadian and international artists. It was an incredible experience to see so many interesting art practices. I performed a new piece The thirst is real :

The thirst is real is a durational interactive performance occurring during the opening night party of the festival which creates a controlled poetic environment for viewers to witness the performance of a water droplet dropping through space and into the artist’s mouth. Installed on the ceiling is sculptural vessel which releases drops in specific intervals. The artist, though present, is otherwise engaged by consuming whatever he so pleases through his phone throughout the performance. The audience, if so persuaded, can speak to him by texting him, which acts as a direct conduit into the performance itself. Through engagement, the audience pulls themselves into the performance by occupying this heterotopic space of texting with the artist and in some ways performing themselves.

Below is an image of the performance after 3.5 hours after the party finished at approximately 1:30am

David Yu, The thirst is real - performance at approximately 1:45am during the opening party, Zero Gravity International Performance Art Festival, 2019

Photo by Cindy Baker

YYZ40 Anniversary Party + Fundraiser Exhibition

I am very honoured to be a part of the YYZ Artists' Outlet 40th anniversary fundraiser.

Please drop on by next week, Saturday, March 30th, 7 - 11pm.  This event is free. Come support this amazing gallery that has supported so many experimental art practices - including myself - for the last 40 years! 

YYZ Artists' Outlet
#140-401 Richmond St. W
Toronto, On M5V 3A8

If you join the raffle you can bring home a unique and very special vessel made by me or by 35 other awesome artists.
There will be performances that evening and a curated exhibition by Veronika Ivanova.

The exhibition runs from March 30th to May 4th, 2019.

David Yu, Gallery Dust 17/03/2018 - 27/04/2018

Copyright 2019
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