Galerie Urs Meile Beijing is delighted to announce the opening of artist Yan Xing’s latest exhibition, Thief. This exhibition will feature a series of new works in a variety of different media, including installation, video, photography, space, and design. The works explore negativity, resistance, and order in many layers throughout the process of artistic language.
The Story of Shame (2015) is about a secret collection of ‘shames’ (ignominy, cowardice, shyness, disgrace, etc.). Brought to the fore is shame’s implicit tendency to be “anti-expressive.” One piece is hidden in the corner. One work is obscured by another. A photograph is stretched out in the room’s crevices. The pieces are about sex and shame. If we think of art as a metaphorical machine, these negative, downward, and tragic features are the machine’s lubricant.
Looking back at his past artistic practice, Yan Xing has appropriated Western classics more than once. The reconstruction of legitimacy has often been the common denominator of his artistic language. Failure, punishment, and discipline—these are the topics explored in the video Thief (2015). When people deviate from social norms, their actions are punished. A failed jump highlights physical inabilities, the act of theft is ridiculed through legalistic scorn, and discipline is described through an adolescent’s sexual awakening and repression. This new video reconstructs the categories of expression through a new series of pieces about the origins of dreams, sexual textures, habitual behavior, exceptional behavior etc.. At the same time, the video is interspersed with segments of boys experiencing confusion upon entering adolescence. The artist redistributes images in a logical place within the artistic language of the work. Reviewing this universal, human, experiential history allows a re-examination of the assumptions and definitions regarding the ‘legitimacy’ of the thief.
The Aesthetics of Resistance (2015) is about an early twentieth-century radical and avant-garde collector, a surviving Soviet-era politician, and an artist who had the courage to explore during the age of Modernism. The work will present the concept of ‘decay’ or ‘downfall.’ Perhaps it is the aftermath of a collector moving all of his collected works. Perhaps it is the residence of a politician after his fall from power. Perhaps it is an artist’s half-finished work or a view of his studio. The work tells a story about the struggle between principles of language and the historical narrative in the space existing between ‘the beauty of resistance’ and ‘the beauty of resisting aesthetics.’
Tendon (2015) is about technique and beauty, experience and the rituals of art. It is about technology, training, artistic political discipline, and the recalibration of artistic skill. Clues come from scenes about the artist’s childhood training in technology and beauty at his mother’s behest. It then moves into the vastness of the artistic career and enters a stormy journey of exploration. By analyzing the limited relationships that exist among artistic strengths, artistic principles, and the work of art itself, the artist questions the origins of artistic production.
A catalogue published by the gallery, with texts by Philip Tinari (Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary art, Beijing, China) and Sam Thorne (Artistic Director, Tate St Ives, St Ives, UK), will accompany the exhibition.
Yan Xing was born in Chongqing in 1986, and currently lives and works in Beijing, China and Los Angeles, USA. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009. Yan Xing has won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) – Best Young Artist Award and also received a nomination for Future Generation Art Prize by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in 2012. His recent major exhibitions include Chercher le garçon, Musée d’Art contemporain du Val-de-Marne (MAC/VAL), Vitry-sur-Seine, France (2015); Traveling Alone, Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, Norway (2015); My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, USA (2014); The 8 of Paths, Uferhallen, Berlin, Germany (2014); China China, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2013); 28 Chinese, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA (2013); ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing, China (2013); Yan Xing, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK (2012); Unfinished Country: New Video From China, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH), Houston, USA (2012); 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Central House of Artists (CHA), Moscow, Russia (2012); 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shenzhen, China (2012).
Yan Xing will also be taking part in the upcoming 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia (2015). His commissioned performance work will be shown early next year at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. His works have been collected by museums and public institutions, including the Erlenmeyer Foundation, the Rubell Family Collection, M+ Museum for Visual Culture, and the Kadist Art Foundation.