Yin Xiuzhen

1963 | Beijing, China
Yin Xiuzhen — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Courtesy Chambers Fine Art

— Chambers Fine Art

Chinese artist.

Yin Xiuzhen is one of the most highly acclaimed artists of the contemporary Chinese art scene. A few years after graduating in 1989 from the Capital Normal University in Beijing – the city where she has always lived – she garnered international attention with her installations and performance pieces, which drew inspiration from the rapid changes occurring in China’s urban, political and social landscapes. Starting in the mid-90s, she performed a series of interventions reflective of her interest in ecology, in which she invited local populations and students to engage in a participative group work and discussion on the protection of the water and environment: in Washing the River (1995), she had 10 cubic metres of water from a river in Chengdu – considered at the time one of China’s most polluted cities – frozen into blocks of ice and asked passers-by to help her clean them; in a similar vein, she created vast installations reusing traditional tiles she salvaged from sites demolished as part of urban renovation programmes. Memory and human experience, as well as the impact of society’s profound changes on humankind, are at the heart of her latest works.

In her monumental sculpture Collective Subconscious (2007), she connected the two separated halves of a van with a tunnel covered in discarded clothes in which visitors could nestle. The series Portable Cities, which she initiated in 2002, is a collection of scale models of large cities the artist has visited worldwide. The cities are made out of clothes given to her by people she met in them and presented in open suitcases, offering us subtle interpretations of the conflict between permanence and transience, and between our personal experience of life in modern times and its standardisation. Yin Xiuzhen was one of four female artists represented at the Chinese pavilion of the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Her work has been shown all over the world and was the focus of a individual exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2010).

Evelyne Jouanno

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
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