Yin Xiuzhen, Wall Instrument -The Surging Waves Chronicles Vol.3, 2019–2021. Porcelain, used clothes. 98 cm × 122 cm × 10 cm. © Yin Xiuzhen. Courtesy Pace Gallery.
Pace announces Everywhere, a solo exhibition dedicated to Yin Xiuzhen, a key figure in Chinese installation and performance art since the 1990s, to be unveiled at its Hong Kong Gallery. On view from November 25 to January 5, 2023, this exhibition marks Yin's first presentation in Hong Kong since her acclaimed institutional exhibition Yin Xiuzhen, Sky Patch opened at the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) in 2020. Yin's show with Pace in Hong Kong, which follows her 2021 solo exhibition at Pace's New York gallery, will spotlight her ongoing explorations of materiality. Among the 40 sculptures and installations on view, which date from 2008 to 2022, will be Yin's new series 'The Surging Waves Chronicles', which has never before been exhibited publicly.
Yin is known for her deeply resonant installations incorporating everyday objects and materials, from used clothes and fabrics to porcelain and cement to fruits and plants. These layered, lyrical works—which serve as repositories of cultural memory—capture the undercurrents of disorientation and unease in modern society. Yin's upcoming exhibition with Pace will bring together several bodies of work, most of which are being shown in Hong Kong for the first time, that reflect her longstanding interest in the variable qualities of her chosen materials.
Transmutations of seemingly static materials into lively, vital entities are central to Yin's practice. In recent years, she has adopted porcelain as the core material for her work—compared to other materials that evolve slowly over time, porcelain undergoes extraordinary and rapid changes during its firing. At high temperatures, the originally soft, unremarkable clay becomes crystalline, cooling and solidifying as a glossy, talismanic object. The physical and symbolic energy transformations that take place as part of this process are especially fascinating to the artist.
Yin Xiuzhen, Wall Instrument-The Surging Waves Chronicles Vol.11, 2021–2022. Porcelain, used clothes, 90 x 99 x 6 cm. © Yin Xiuzhen. Courtesy Pace Gallery.
With Yin's latest series, titled 'The Surging Waves Chronicles' and featured in her exhibition with Pace in Hong Kong, the artist embraces greater physicality in her work with porcelain clay, pushing and squeezing the raw material to create flesh-like folds on the surfaces of thick ceramic panels. The title of the work suggests its relationship to the Chinese tradition of ancient literati who make use of scenery to express emotions, and, on a visual level, the rolls and layers of porcelain clay ebb like waves which recalling the literary image of Virginia Woolf's writings that symbolises the tide of life. The artist's iconic fragments of worn clothes emerge from the gaps between the waves. These fabrics are changing slowly over a longer span of time, faithfully recording the life experiences of their owners in the fibres.
The Hong Kong exhibition will also include works from Yin's recent Ripple series, which was first presented at the 2020 Jinan Biennale. The Ripple installations incorporate organic materials—various fruits and plants—as part of Yin's investigations of change and ephemerality. Since the 1990s, she has often used materials such as fruit and food in her installations, allowing the works to change through time. With these works, the artist documents fleeting encounters among materials as well as the exchanges between people and the artwork. Through a kind of temporary dependence, the artist hopes to establish a continuous relationship between the art work and people.
Social and economic conditions have been focuses of Yin's practice throughout her career. In recent years, she has used art's spiritual powers to consider these issues against the transient, impermanent nature of human life. Her latest solo exhibition with Pace meditates on enactments of resiliency in her materials and her relationships to the crises of the current moment. In 2012, Yin Xiuzhen titled her solo exhibition Nowhere to Land, pointing to the state of existence and her art practice at that time, and making a footnote for that era of rapid development but anxiety and confusion. Ten years later, the latest solo exhibition Everywhere attempts to present a more resilient form of life, just as the ever-changing and generating energies contained in the materials she chooses, in a way to counteract the more invisible but widespread violence and dilemmas facing humanity today.
About the artist
Yin Xiuzhen (b. 1963, Beijing, China), a leading figure in Chinese contemporary art, explores themes of the past and present, memory, globalisation, and homogenisation. Yin began her career after earning a BA from Capital Normal University's Fine Arts Department, Beijing, in 1989. She is best known for her sculptures and installations comprised of secondhand objects like clothing, shoes, and suitcases. Inspired by the rapidly changing cultural environment of her native Beijing, Yin arranges and reconfigures these recycled items to draw out their individual and collective histories. Her assembled materials operate as sculptural documents of memory, alluding to the lives of individuals who are often neglected in the drive toward industrial development, excessive urbanisation, and the growing global economy.Pace is a leading international art gallery representing some of the most influential contemporary artists and estates from the past century, holding decades-long relationships with Alexander Calder, Jean Dubuffet, Barbara Hepworth, Agnes Martin, Louise Nevelson, and Mark Rothko. Pace enjoys a unique U.S. heritage spanning East and West coasts through its early support of artists central to the Abstract Expressionist and Light and Space movements.
About the exhibition
Opening Reception: Nov 24, 2022, 6 – 8 PM
Dates: Nov 25, 2022 – Jan 5, 2023
Gallery: 12/F, H Queen's, 80 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
Press release courtesy Pace Gallery.