“I love using surreal ideas to make ordinary reality extraordinary.

b. 1963, Shenyang, Liaoning

What would the everyday world look like if we lived in four dimensions rather than three? Yuan Jia likes to imagine that “inert objects might even be able to move and gesture”: a table set for dinner, for example, might suddenly buck like a horse and gallop away. She gives shape to that fantastical idea with Runaway Table and His Duck (2010), which she sees as “a huge toy in curved space”. She carved it by hand from “natural and simple” wood, incorporating ball joints and hinges that allow every part, from tabletop to chopsticks, wine glasses and duck legs, to swivel and bend. Her table may not actually be galloping, but her imagination certainly is.

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