Xie Nanxing
"untitled: 3 x"

November 7, 2015 - February 6, 2016
Opening: Saturday, November 7, 2015; 4 - 7pm

Xie Nanxing

untitled no. 4, 2014
oil on canvas
300 × 220 cm



Xie Nanxing
untitled : 3 ×

2015 (english)

Galerie Urs Meile is pleased to announce the opening of untitled: 3 ×, the eighth solo exhibition by Xie Nanxing at one of our galleries. Xie Nanxing is a revolutionary and experimental painter, who always challenges tradition and the seemingly established rules of art education. He is interested in psychology and also approaches his practice with a psychologist’s line of questioning, inquiring into what is behind the surface.

For example, he reconsidered the traditional portrait genre, depicting people not as it is usually done, by painting their appearance, but by illustrating their personality through a story, the composition, or through color. Xie Nanxing portrayed his girlfriend (Portrait No. 1, 2012, oil on canvas, 120 × 160 cm) by painting her style of driving. We see a shabby car scaring a dog off the road, and in the light cones emanating from its headlights one can read: “One-eyed person bravely dashing into Heiqiao” (an art district in Beijing). Xie Nanxing’s approach differs for every portrait, depending on and reflecting upon the person who is to be portrayed. His portrait of a friend (Someone’s Portrait, 2014, oil on canvas, 100 × 80 cm) is based on the friend’s ongoing art project. Xie Nanxing was extremely fascinated with the friend’s narratives of the project’s details as well as his expectation of it, which in turn inspired Xie Nanxing to do some portraits for his friend.

Xie Nanxing’s recent series, Untitled (2014-2015) consists of six paintings that radiate a strange, dark, uncanny beauty. The subjects are hard to recognize, and what we see seems to come out of our unconscious. The viewer can’t trust his own ability to focus, as everything seems blurred. In this series, Xie Nanxing was looking into the question of what happens to an image when it is processed though a variety of different media. Xie Nanxing created these paintings by using photographs of flowers and plants taken by his mother, and transforming them with the help of light, painting, and other photographic media. Xie Nanxing has always been exploring the relationship between the image and the painting. He successfully changes the form, composition, and color of the original image drastically with the help of different media and the change of light, as well as the reversal method. The final image was transformed into a map of light and Xie Nanxing felt that this metamorphosis was almost magical. On untitled no. 1 (2014, oil on canvas, 220 × 320 cm) you can even see the artist’s reflection on the TV screen when he was taking the image.

Triangle Relations Gradually Changing (2013) is a group of works that combines Xie Nanxing’s formal and psychological approach. The series was inspired by Lucian Freud’s The Artist Surprised by a Naked Admirer. In Freud’s painting you can see the painter standing in his studio, a naked women sitting at his feet, embracing his legs, and to their left a canvas is set up on an easel, depicting the very same scene. While the model seems to care only about the painter, he is turning away from her toward the canvas. Inspired by this scene, Xie Nanxing wanted to explore the relationship among painter, object, and depiction. At first he thought that the model holds the painter’s attention because she wants him to observe her physical existence instead of his version of her in his painting. In Triangle Relations Gradually Changing No. 1 (2013, oil on canvas, 221 × 152 cm), Triangle Relations Gradually Changing No. 2 (2013, oil on canvas, 220 × 220 cm), Triangle Relations Gradually Changing No. 3 (2013, oil on canvas, 190 × 190 cm), and Triangle Relations Gradually Changing No. 4 (2013, oil on canvas, 220 × 220 cm), Xie Nanxing examined this triangular relationship by assigning different roles to each party. By the time he finished Triangle Relations Gradually Changing No. 5 (2013, oil on canvas, 190 × 190 cm) he realized that he had misunderstood Freud and dedicated the last painting to Freud’s intention to comment on a painter’s adoration of the opposite sex. Xie Nanxing used a technique in this series he has worked with before. He primed one canvas—white or in a variety of colors—and put another one on top of it, upon which he painted a figurative painting. But the finished work is the canvas beneath, which only shows the traces of paint that penetrated through onto the base coat. These are the kinds of marks that can often be seen on the back of a painting, and Xie Nanxing also understands leftovers from themes or concepts as traces similar to those in the painting process. Together they form the unconscious of painting, which Xie Nanxing once more brings to mind.

On the occasion of the exhibition the gallery will publish a catalog with texts by Carol Yinghua Lu (curator and critic, Beijing) and Ruth Noack (curator and critic, Berlin).

Xie Nanxing was born in 1970 in Chongqing, Sichuan Province; today, he lives and works in Beijing and Chengdu, China. The artist’s exhibitions include: New Works #1, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Shenzhen, China, 2014; Documenta XII, Kassel, Germany, 2007; Xie Nanxing Paintings, Kunstverein Hamburger Bahnhof, Hamburg, Germany, 2005; Xie Nanxing. Paintings 1999-2002, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, 2003; Shanghai Biennial, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China, 2000; d’APERTutto, Venice Biennial, 48th International Art Exhibition of the City of Venice, Italy, 1999.


Yan Xing
"Nuit et brouillard"

February 12, 2016 - April 30, 2016
Opening: Friday, February 12, 2016; 6 - 8pm


Yan Xing

The Story of Shame, 2015,
photograph (b/w), ultra giclée, 100 x 80 cm (print), edition of 3 + 1 AP, 40 x 32 cm (print), edition of 5 + 1 AP



Yan Xing
Nuit et brouillard

2016 (english)

Galerie Urs Meile is delighted to announce the opening of Yan Xing’s (*1986 in Chongqing, China) solo exhibition, Nuit et brouillard, at the Lucerne gallery. This exhibition will feature a series of new works in a variety of different media, including installation, photography, space, and design, that explore the many layers of negativity through the process of artistic language.

Yan Xing has always had a keen interest in the mechanisms of how histories and canons are built, and the divergent histories of the modern exhibition form are woven through a number of his works. One series of photographs, The Story of Shame (2015), for example, is about shame and its related emotions: disgrace, humiliation, embarrassment, cowardice, and shyness. Those photographs are obstructed so accurately that they reveal implicitly inept, anti-expressive tendencies. If art were a machine, then these hidden, downward-moving, tragic features would be this 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. The works of Tendon (2015) explore the body in between muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments, or even beyond them; with respect to the fate of artistry and beauty, they conceal the exact strength of technical polish, artistic discipline, and the refinement of expression—rules that encircle logic. In the collaborative mechanisms in between artistic production, the power of art, and the work of art, how does one discuss “the wellsprings from which art arises?”

Other works, titled Thief (print, 2015) and Thief (copper, 2015) are also part of the exhibition. They are printed, respectively etched, with the Chinese character for “thief”, rendered in Fang Song, one of the standard typefaces of simplified Chinese.

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 and Los Angeles. He graduated from the Oil Painting Department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009. Yan Xing has won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) – Best Young Artist Award and also been nominated for the Future Generation Art Prize, awarded by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in 2012.

Yan Xing’s commissioned, new performance work, Performance of a Massacre (2016), will be shown on January 29, 2016, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In the meantime, his new performance will be presented at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, Center for the Arts, Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, USA, in late February. In 2016 his first solo exhibition at an American museum will open at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

His recent major exhibitions include the 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russia (2015); Chercher le garçon, Musée d’Art contemporain du Val-de-Marne (MAC/VAL), Vitrysur-Seine, France (2015); Traveling Alone, Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, Norway (2015); My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida, USA (2014); The 8 of Paths, Uferhallen, Berlin, Germany (2014); China China, Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev, Ukraine (2013); 28 Chinese, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, Florida, 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, Texas, 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’s works are collected by museums and public institutions, including the Erlenmeyer Foundation, the Rubell Family Collection, the M+ Museum for Visual Culture, and the Kadist Art Foundation.


2016 (deutsch)

Die Galerie Urs Meile freut sich, die Einzelausstellung Nuit et brouillard mit dem chinesischen Künstler Yan Xing (*1986 in Chongqing, China) in der Galerie in Luzern zu eröffnen. Die Ausstellung präsentiert eine Reihe neuer Werkserien in den Medien Fotografie und Installation, in denen sich der Künstler auf vielschichtige Weise unter anderem mit dem Thema Negativität auseinandersetzt.

Yan Xing interessierte sich schon immer dafür, wie Geschichte geschrieben wird und wie Regeln entstehen. Divergierende Traditionen in der modernen Ausstellungspraxis sind ebenfalls Teil seiner Werke. In der Fotoserie The Story of Shame (2015) geht es beispielsweise um Scham und anverwandte Gefühle wie Schande, Erniedrigung, Schüchternheit und Feigheit. Durch die Bildkomposition bleibt eine eindeutige Leseart verborgen, dafür offenbaren sich implizite, anti-expressive Tendenzen. Wenn Kunst eine Maschine wäre, so wären die verborgenen, bedrückenden und oft tragischen Aspekte, mit denen sich Yan Xing auseinandersetzt, ihr Schmiermittel.

Schaut man zurück auf seine künstlerische Praxis, so hat sich Yan Xing mehrmals an westlichen Klassikern orientiert. Fragen nach Gesetzmässigkeiten sowie deren Rekonstruktionen ziehen sich als gemeinsamer Nenner durch sein Werk. Die Arbeiten aus der Werkgruppe Tendon (2015) untersuchen die Muskeln, Knochen, Sehnen und Bänder des menschlichen Körpers. Für Yan Xing liegt der Fokus auf der Schönheit und dem künstlerischen Ausdruck anstatt auf der Transparenz in der Produktionsweise. Der Künstler befragt das Spannungsfeld zwischen der Macht der Kunst, des einzelnen Kunstwerks und der künstlerischen Produktion und interessiert sich für die “Quellen, aus denen die Kunst entspringt”.

Zwei andere Werkeditionen mit dem Titel Thief (2015) sind ebenfalls Teil der Ausstellung. Beide Werke zeigen das chinesische Schriftzeichen für Dieb (thief) in der Schriftart Fang Song, einer der Standard Schriftarten für vereinfachtes Chinesisch, wobei das Schriftzeichen einmal in einer Kupferplatte eingraviert ist und bei der zweiten Arbeit als Inkjetprint auf Papier gedruckt ist.

Im Rahmen der Ausstellung publiziert die Galerie einen Katalog mit Texten von Philip Tinari (Direktor des Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China) und Sam Thorne (Artistic Director der Tate St Ives in Grossbritannien).

Yan Xing, 1986 in Chongqing geboren, lebt und arbeitet in Peking und Los Angeles. 2009 schloss er sein Studium am Oil Painting Department des Sichuan Fine Arts Institute ab. 2012 gewann er den Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) in der Kategorie Best Young Artist und war nominiert für den Future Generation Art Prize der Victor Pinchuk Foundation. Yan Xings neue Performance Performance of a Massacre (2016) wird am 29. Januar 2016 im Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam aufgeführt. Ende Februar 2016 zeigt die Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery der Wesleyan University in Middletown, USA seine Performances. Yan Xings erste Einzelausstellung in einem amerikanischen Museum wird im Sommer 2016 im Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum an der Michigan State University in East Lansing eröffnet.

Zu den wichtigsten vergangenen Ausstellungen gehören: 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, Yekaterinburg, Russland (2015); Chercher le garçon am Musée d’Art contemporain du Val-de-Marne (MAC/VAL), Vitry-sur-Seine, Frankreich (2015); Traveling Alone, Tromsø Kunstforening, Norwegen (2015); My Generation: Young Chinese Artists, Tampa Museum of Art, USA (2014); The 8 of Paths, Uferhallen, Berlin, Deutschland (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, USA (2012); 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, Central House of Artists, Moskau, Russland (2012); 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen, China (2012).

Seine Werke befinden sich in Sammlungen von öffentlichen Institutionen und Museen wie der Erlenmeyer Foundation, der Rubell Family Collection, dem M+ Museum for Visual Culture und der Kadist Art Foundation.