Chinese living environment
Yin Xiuzhen is one of the most active woman artists in today´s China. She is an avantgarde installation artist, mirroring the environment around her. She began showing her work in the late eighties, around the time she graduated from the Beijing Capital Normal University.
In recent years she has made a number of installations both in the galleries and outside.
The artwork of Ms. Xiuzhen reflects the living environment. She considers artwork as a means of communication to convey aspects of individual experiences in life in relation to global transformations. Water is a recurrent issue in her work. Her projects are participatory and quite a few have been dealing with water.
Since the mid 1990s Yin Xiuzhen has created artwork in response to the massive destruction and reconstruction in Beijing. Through various types of intervention, Yin Xiuzhen seeks to personalise objects and allude to the lives of people affected by sudden social, physical and cultural change. Memory, the past and the present, external appearances and internal responses are strong themes in her work.
The outdoor project Washing the River (1985) was a particularly important step for her. In this work, part of a project in Chengdu, she made a lump of ice by freezing water from a polluted river and then washed it with clean water. Writing about this work, the critic Li Xianting has suggested that it was the occasion for her learning to create an artistic language through an interest in her own living environment.
In Dress Box of 1995 she expressed her interest in working on a larger scale interest by using materials with personal associations. Speaking about this work which contained memories of her own life, she said, "Hard things and soft things, coldness and hotness, reason and feeling ¨C these combinations of antithetical things create ineffable feelings".
Yin Xiuzhen gathered old clothes donated by people living in the outskirts of Beijing. She washed the clothes and hung them to dry in a discarded pagoda. The wet clothes dripped on mounds of plaster of Paris which absorbed the water to form cement. The community supported the artist´s recycling statement.
For Beijing 1999, she has used ceramic roof tiles rescued from domestic demolition sites, coupled with photographs of ordinary people. A symbol of ´Old Peking´, the tiles were used to cap the roofs of traditional, single-storey courtyard-houses (siheyuan) in which the majority of the local population once lived. In recent years, entire inner-city neighbourhoods have been bulldozed to make way for new multi-level office buildings and the residents moved to high-rise accommodation in suburbs outside the city.
In celebration of their tenth wedding anniversary, Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen have collaborated in their first joint exhibition. The catalogue is divided into three mini-books. Two parts explore the careers of the artists, Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, separately, while the third part shows works from Chopsticks, their first partnership in an exhibition. Photos and informative clippings are included to show the progression of their lives separately as well as together. Introduction by Wu Hung.
In Cemented Shoes (1995), one sees the artist´s concern with her living environment and society very clearly. In Cemented Shoes, twenty-five pairs of shoes, once worn by men and women of all ages, hardened by cement, are hung in a row by hemp rope from the ceiling. There are many kinds of shoes, from the cloth Chinese shoes, now seldom seen, that were popular in the sixties and seventies to the most recent fashions. By looking at these shoes alone, one can get an interesting glimpse at the changes in Chinese society over the last few decades. Scales of a type used even today in Chinese street markers are attached to the upper part of the ropes to weigh the shoes. The relationship between soft things (the shoes) and hard things (cement) provides food for thought about the patterns of individual lives and the social system that has supported them. Cement is a material much in evidence in rapidly developing Chinese cities. The shoes have been changed by the wear and tear of use and have become fitted to the shape of the owner´s feet and way of walking. By using these materials, Yin shows the complex relationship between human beings and society. The shoes (like sensibility) are too light to be measured by themselves, but can be weighed with the addition of cement (like reason). Social rules and structures, like a shared language, make communication possible but at the same time they limit the actions of human beings.
Ms Yin Xiuzhen´s conceived "Thought for a river" as a participatory art-project: all students from project area water and inhabitants from the hosting town were included.
For the installation "River above River" the art project group collected empty containers from people and houses, on those containers everybody was invited to write down remarks about the containers and what they served for. The containers were arranged at the riverbank in the shape of a big boat and filled with water. The mainly communication based working process revealed the complexity of relations to water and stimulated a broad range of "Thoughts for the River" of intern and extern participants.
For "Flowing Story" the project participants asked their fellow students and the Suderburg inhabitants to contribute stories, news and tales about water and pollution in their countries and to write them on acrylic glass sheets in their mother tongues. The acrylic glass sheets were then fixed at the riverbanks and floated on the water. As final presentation these acrylic glass sheets were put together to a sort of big transparent book visualising the extent and interdependency of the water issue in the 21 century.
1963: Yin Xiuzhen was born in 1963 in Beijing, China.
1985-1989 Majored in Oil Painting at the Fine Arts
Department of Capital Normal University, Beijing,
Awarded a B.A. degree when graduated in July, 1989.
Lives and works in Beijing, China
Solo Exhibitions (Choice)
“Yin Xiuzhen - Beijing Opera”, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney, Australia
“Suitcases”, Alexander Ochs Gallery, Berlin, Germany
“Building Materials”, 200 Gertrude Front Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
“Brain - Exhibition of Installations”, Manchester Craft Centre, Manchester, Great Britain
“Dining Table - Exhibition of Installations”, Ruine for Arts, Berlin, Germany
“Sun Clothes”, Hua Yan Li, Beijing, China
“Ruined City", Capital Normal University Museum, Beijing, China
“Yin Xiuzhen”, Installations, Contemporary Art Museum, Beijing, China
Group Exhibitions (Choice)
“China – Between Past and Future“, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany
“Festival of Love: Video Art Series”, Asia Society, New York, USA
“Between Past and Future”, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Great Britain
“Between Past and Future“, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
“Between Past and Future“, Smart Museum, Chicago, USA
“Convergence at E116°/ N40°”, Platform China, Beijing, China
“Convergence at E116°/ N40°”, 798 Dayaolu Space, Beijing, China
“Between Past and Future“, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Great Britain
“China: Crossroads of Culture / Follow Me!”, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
“A Strange Heaven“, Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland
“Mahjong - Chinesische Gegenwartskunst“, Kunstmuseum Bern, Bern, Switzerland
“Between Past and Future“, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, USA
“The Logbook“, Longmarchfoundation, Beijing, China
“Left Wing”, Left Bank Community, Beijing, China
“Biennale São Paulo 2004“, Biennale São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
“A Real China Club Night“, Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin, Germany
“Between Past and Future“, International Center of Photography, New York, USA
“A Strange Heaven“, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czechia
“How Latitudes Become Forms“, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italiy
“Sars Times: Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen”, ISE Foundation, New York, USA
“How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in Global Age”, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
“Time after Time: Asian a Moment”, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA
“Here and Now“, Büro Friedrich, Berlin, Germany
“Chopsticks: Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen”, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA
“Chopsticks: Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen”, Chapman University, Los Angeles, USA
“Making China”, Ethan Cohen Fine Art, New York, USA
“The 2nd Fukuoka Triennale”, Fucuoku Asian Art Museum, Fucokoka, Japan
“Gwangju Biennial”, Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, Korea
“Site + Sight: Translating Cultures”, Asian Civilisations Museum, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore, Singapore
“Bumber Harvest: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition”, Beijing Agriculture Museum, Beijing, China
“Guangzhou Triennal”, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
“Installation and New Media, Asian Fine Arts”, Berlin Gallery, Berlin, Germany
“1st Architecture Biennale”, China National Gallery, Beijing, China
“Reinventing the Images and Signs”, Universal Classical Cultural Arts Co. Ltd., Beijing, China
“Chronicles of Women: Illness as Metaphor”, Shatin Town Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong, China
“Le Paysage comme Babel”, Galerie Les Filles du calvaire, Paris, France
“Living in Time”, Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany
“Building Materials”, 200 Gertrude Front Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
“Text and Subtext”, Earl Lu Gallery and Lasalle Gallery, Singapore, Singapore
“Our Chinese Friends”, ACC Gallery and Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany
“Fuori Uso 2000”, The Bridges, Pescara, Italy
“Virtual and Real”, Wan Gung Art Gallery, Peking, China
“Unusual and Usual: A Contemporary Art Exhibition”, YuanGong Modern Art Museum, Shanghai, China
“The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art”, Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia
“Transience: Chinese Art at the End of 20th Century”, The Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA
“In / Form China: Art + Architecture”, Asian Fine Arts Factory, Berlin, Germany
Selected Group Exhibitions
Exhibition / Installation,
2003: Sars Times: Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, ISE Foundation, New York, USA
How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in Global Age, Walker Art Center Minneapolis, USA
Time after Time: Asian a Moment, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA
2002: Chopsticks: Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA, Chapman University, Los Angeles, USA
Making China, Ethan Cohen Fine Art, New York, USA
2002 ARCO, Madrid, Spain
The 2nd Fukuoka Triennale, Fucuoku Asian Art Museum, Japan
2002 Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea
Four Coreners, Hong Kong
Site + Sight: Translating Cultures, Asian Civilisations Museum, Earl Lu Gallery, Singapore
Bumber Harvest: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Beijing Agriculture Museum, China
2002 Guangzhou Triennal, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangdong, China
2001: Installation and New Media, Asian Fine Arts Berlin Gallery, Germany
1st Architecture Biennale, China National Gallery, Beijing, China
Reinventing the Images and Signs, Universal Classical Cultural Arts Co. Ltd., Beijing, China
Chronicles of Women: Illness as Metaphor, Shatin Town Hall Concert Hall, Hong Kong
Crossroads, Cheng Du Contemporary Art Museum, China
Le Paysage comme Babel, Galerie Les Filles du calvaire, Paris, France and Brussels, Belgium
Living in Time; Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Hamburger Bahnhof, Contemporary Art Museum, Berlin, Germany
Womanifesto, Workshop, Thailand
The 4th Contemporary Sculpture Art Show, ShenZhen, China
2000: Building Materials, 200 Gertrude Front Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
At the New Century; 1979-1999 Comtemporary Art of China Invitation Art Exhibition, ChengDu Contemporary Museum, China
Text and Subtext, (touring exhibition from 2000-2003), Earl Lu Gallery and Lasalle Gallery, Singapore
Our Chinese Friends, ACC Gallery and Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany
Fuori Uso 2000; the Bridges, Pescara, Italy
Virtual and Real, Wan Gung Art Gallery, Beijing, China
Unusual and Usual: A Contemporary Art Exhibition, YuanGong Modern Art Museum, Shanghai, China
1999: Food For Thought: Chinese Characters, Amsterdam, Holland
Art for Sell, Shanghai, China
The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane, Australia
Flooded Valley, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Transience: Chinese Art at the End of 20th Century, The Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, USA
in / form China: art + architecture, Asian Fine Arts Factory, Berlin, Germany
Exhibition / Installation,
Installation, Objects, Photography
Exhibition / Installation,
1998: Brain - Exhibition of Installations, Manchester Craft Centre, United Kingdom
Dining Table - Exhibition of Installations, Ruine for Arts, Berlin, Germany
Sun Clothes, Hua Yan Li, Beijing, China