I first encountered Yann Gyro’s (sempiternel) work during what was to become the last set of exhibition at La Maison d’Aneli in December 2022, when he presented an untitled but engaging 3D installation (see: Five at La Maison d’Aneli in Second Life). I was not the only one taken by that installation, as Dido Haas also saw it as well and asked Yann to consider exhibiting at her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – and he accepted. So, officially opening on Monday, March 6th, 2023, we have Transcend Struggle, a combined 2D and 3D installation created by Yann.
This is a highly personal installation for Yann, focusing as it does on his mother’s diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, and his love for her and his wish to support her through her diagnosis and subsequent treatment – and most of all to her memory and her strength.
For those who might not be familiar with the term, metastatic breast cancer is a stage VI cancer where the cancer cells have spread beyond the axillary lymph nodes to distant sites, including the bones, the brain, the liver and the pulmonary pleurae. it can occur several years after a primary breast cancer has been identified and treated (or at the same time the primary cancer is identified) and is the final stage of breast cancer; while treatment is possible, there is no cure. Treatments can take many forms, some of which can be as debilitating as the disease itself (e.g. radiation and chemotherapy).
Given the above, it should come as no surprise that the images and 3D elements of Transcend Struggle are powerful in message; metaphor is not required (although it is powerfully present in one sculpture and one of the images). Supported by a poem by Yann, the pictures and sculptures speak eloquently and fully to his love for his mother, her strength, and what is means to live within the twin shadows of a terminal cancer and its treatment regimes – shadows which fall across both the person afflicted and those around them.
As someone who has both lost her mother to cancer and has herself faced breast cancer (mine was fortunately a benign DCIS, and as of May 2023 I am 5 years “clear” of the disease following surgery and treatment), I found Transcend Struggle deeply moving. However, you do not have to have gone through diagnosis and treatment – or know someone who has – to appreciate the outflow of love found within the installation; it in clear both within Yann’s words and the beauty of his images, while his sculptures convey an equally strong message. As such, it is difficult to write about it; Transcend Struggle very genuinely needs to be visited, and Yann’s the images, sculptures, words experienced first-hand.
Cancer loves to hide in the darkness of fear and silence where it can prey on the mind as much as it does on the body, gnawing equally on those diagnosed with it and those around them; confronting it – be it through seeking a diagnosis, through treatment or just by talking about it – may not always lessen its threat, but it does shine a light on it and allow strength and love to be shared as it is faced. Transcend Struggle speaks eloquently to this fact.
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)