Beginning History and Aesthetic

Maybe the earliest recorded and preserved examples of people appreciating unique objects are the Chinese viewing stones.  This beginning has grown into the ancient and respected tradition best know to the West as "suiseki" from Japan.

In a similar tradition we have the "curio boxes" of the Chinese.  While these typically contained exquisite items made by hand there are examples of unusual objects found and displayed as they were found.  The collection of curio boxes at the National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan is nothing short of spectacular.  It is one of the finest museums in the world.  This interest in unique natural objects migrated to the West resulting in curiosity cabinets and wunderkammer.

A more recent invention is the notion of "found object art" (or "objet trouvé" if you're French). There are very many sources of information on  constructing "art" from objects found around.  While a yulem object is found it is not further manipulated to achieve some dubious aesthetic.  A genuine yulem object is such because it already possesses a unique aesthetic value.

Photography has given us another dimension to found objects.  The absolute classic example is Edward Weston's photographs of peppers.  Weston certainly saw the yulem character of his peppers and captured them with his camera.  In this case the peppers were the yulem objects and Weston's photographs the fine art.  Since these peppers were grown in 1930 they have long since departed.  (I wonder if Weston watched or ate them.) Clearly some yulem objects have a time dimension.  Some are quite permanent whereas some are fleeting. 

Yulem Objects owe much to Marcel Duchamp's readymades and Andre Breton's found objects (See the 1936 Surrealist Exhibition of Objects for background.)  but yulem objects do not participate in the pointless academic machinations that the art community bestows on these two artists.

A very recent focus is on found notes and lists.  These are of immense interest but not yulem because they are human-made.  A yulem object is free from all human contrivances.  This in no way detracts from these objects.  They simply do not satisfy the criteria to be a yulem object.  They do share much of the same aesthetic.

And then there is the "anti-art" (of which Dadaism might be first) aspect of yulem objects that begs to defy.  Sickened by the commercialization and intellectualization of the current art scene yulem objects fly in the face of such by freeing any and everyone to participate.  The only requirement is that you can "see."

No yulem history would be complete without homage paid to the time-honored practice of the "beachcomber."  While few yulem objects come from this lifestyle the heart and soul of the beachcomber is kindred with those in search for yulem objects.  It is an obsession that cannot be defended. 

Once seen and acquired a Yulem Object is the most unique gift that can be given.