Yang Mushi
"Vanishing into Thin Air"

Exhibition Views

12.1.- 3.3. 2019
Opening: Saturday, January 12, 2019, 4 - 6.30pm


Yang Mushi

Illuminating 2, detail, 2018
oil, white neon tube, iron sheet, stone-like coating
52 x 244.7 x 18 cm 




Yang Mushi
Vanishing into Thin Air

2019 (english)

Galerie Urs Meile Beijing is pleased to announce Vanishing into Thin Air a solo exhibition of the young emerging Chinese artist Yang Mushi (*1989). In his third solo presentation after Illegitimate Production and Compulsory Execution, during which the artist used various methods to grind found tools into an array of geometric shapes and textures, the artist furthers his meditations on such topics as urban development, evolution, and labor relations.

Illuminating (2018, white neon tube, iron sheet, stone-like coating, sizes varying from 87.5 x 161.9 x 18 cm to 163.6 x 114.5 x 18 cm), a series of neon light works, constitutes the main body of this exhibition. The neon light, a popular material once commonly used to convey advertisements and disseminate ideologies but now widely replaced by LED out of energy efficiency considerations, is generally fabricated through heating and twisting. Through the incandescent lighting and varying angles, the artist has turned the image to point at the individual in society being twisted by social rules or restrictions. As this defunct mode of production confronts the present and creates a new sense of loss on a large scale, a new “distortion” comes to fruition. Through a continual twisting motion, the artist screws together an unreasonable production, a backward production method, and the manufacturing work of consumption. The twisted light tubes emit a dazzling light into the space that is at once frivolous and pale.

The show also includes Yang Mushi’s Dark series (2016–2018, wood, lacquer, sizes varying from 164 x 41 x 19 cm to 244 x 121 x 9 cm) with their distinctive shape of strict aesthetics and a martial kind of beauty. These works in black are entitled with active verbs such as Grinding, Subtracting, Cutting, Peeling, Eroding, which seem to suggest that the actions are what cast the aura onto the objects in the process of working with sharp wooden pieces. The original form and function of the wooden materials are eliminated and thus new meanings emerged from the ordered formation and sharpened edges of the objects.

Looking at Yang Mushi’s “dark production,” we can imagine the thermal energy, carrying the sweat from laboring over the division of materials, dispersing into the air that eventually vanishes into the social realities Yang has conjured. This “vanishing” act further enhances the artist’s appropriation of neon lights for the Illuminating series. Light is visible, yet intangible. It emits thermal energy while conveying a burning pain. However, this time, surrounded by the subject of labor visualized through the wooden tools—we find the diligent artist becomes integrated with the sharp forms he produced as he continues to labor over an art practice he is passionate about. Perhaps, this is an analogy for Yang Mushi’s realization of sharpening tools since 2013—an intimate relationship between the self and the subject of his practice.

Yang Mushi was born in 1989 in Jiangxi Province, China and currently lives and works in Shanghai. In 2014 he graduated from the Sculpture Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He held his solo show Compulsory Execution at Galerie Urs Meile Lucerne and Broken Torso at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Shenzhen) in 2018 and Illegitimate Production at Galerie Urs Meile Beijing in 2016. His most recent group exhibitions include: Annual Arts Exhibition Between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries - The Universe, Ox Warehouse, Macau, China (2018); Modern Time, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2018); The Dark Matters, White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia (2017); Visual Questions—Young Artists’ Visions and Experiences, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China (2017); Everyday Legend, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Turning Point: Contemporary Art in China Since 2000, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); Prudential Eye - Asia Contemporary Art, Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum, Singapore (2016); WE – A Community of Chinese Contemporary Artists, chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016) and No Holds Barred – Young Generation from China, OpenART Biennial, Örebro County Museum, Örebro, Sweden (2015). Currently, he is participating in HEIMAT – The 2018 Guang’an Field Art Biennale and the group show Transfinite – Shanghai Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition held at SPSI Art Museum in Shanghai. Yang Mushi was nominated for Asian Contemporary Art as the “Best Emerging Artist Using Sculpture” (2016).


Rebekka Steiger
"wild is the wind"

14.2.- 30.3. 2019
Opening: Thursday, February 14, 2019, 5.30-7.30pm

Rebekka Steiger

(venus as a boy)
oil and
tempera on canvas,
240 x 170 cm



Rebekka Steiger
wild is the wind

2019 (english)



Galerie Urs Meile is pleased to announce wild is the wind, the second solo exhibition of Swiss emerging artist Rebekka Steiger (b. 1993, Zurich, Switzerland) with the gallery. The Lucerne exhibition follows 猫头鹰–virages nocturnes, which was shown in Beijing and focused on Steiger’s residency in Beijing, where Galerie Urs Meile runs its artist residency program. From March to November 2018, Rebekka Steiger painted extensively as a means to cope with the unknown environment she was plunged into, while new motifs as well as a more spontaneous approach to painting found their way into her practice. The artist also started entitling her work as well as mixing languages as a way to create a kind of “poetic chemical reaction” and unexpected associations between words.

From a compositional perspective, her work underwent a noticeable transformation, increasingly blurring the boundaries between background, middle ground and foreground. The result is a growing tension between abstract and figurative, as exemplified by the work xibu (2018, oil crayon and tempera on canvas, 240 x 180 cm) or hanging in midair (above sea) (2018, oil and tempera on canvas, 100 x 80 cm). The painting xibu also illustrates the artist’s interest in polysemous words and the imperfection of translation: she chose to spell out the Pinyin version without pitch-accents – xī bù or xì bù – which correspond to two distinct combinations of signs (西部 or 细部). “Xibu” therefore translates into both “west” or “detail (of a drawing)/small part of a whole thing”. Rebekka Steiger plays here with the loss of meaning inherent to the translation process, which allows her to leave the interpretation open and up to the viewer, upon which no pre-existing narrative is imposed.

The same goes for the recurring motifs that inhabit the work: Don Quixotesque riders, birds, erupting volcanoes, intriguing plants and insects, etc. Here again, the figures are not depicted to tell a story: this very personal “vocabulary of forms” allows for the mind to rest or freely wander in a universe composed of expressive and brightly colored brushstrokes. During the Chinese residency, some of these motifs underwent a metamorphosis, while new ones appeared in the work: a hint of a dragon (untitled, gouache and pastel on paper, 58 x 76 cm) or an owl (cat-headed hawk (amor approximately), 2018, gouache and pastel on paper, 76 x 57 cm). The motif of the owl was actually inspired while the artist visited the Beijing antique market, where she acquired a bronze owl statuette. These free associations and “chance encounters”, experienced both by the artist while making art and by her viewers while confronted with the work, are what make Rebekka Steiger’s paintings so appealing and intriguing.

Concurrent to wild is the wind, the Kunst(Zeug)Haus Rapperswil, Switzerland will showcase a selection of Steiger’s work in the solo exhibition If you see her, say hello (February 10 to April 21, 2019. Opening reception: Sunday, February 10, 11:30am). A “Walk & Talk” led by the artist and Petra Giezendanner, Head of Collection, will take place on Friday, February 15 at 6:30pm.

Born in 1993 in Zurich, Switzerland, Rebekka Steiger is an emerging artist who chose painting as her artistic medium, in which she expresses herself in a virtuoso manner. Her solo exhibitions include: 猫头鹰–virages nocturnes, Galerie Urs Meile Beijing, China (2018); Sykomore, Kabinettausstellung, Kunst- museum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2017); Helen Faigle, Zurich, Switzerland (2015). Group shows include: Extended Ground, Galerie Urs Meile Lucerne, Switzerland (2017); Rebekka Steiger and Sven Egert, Luzerner Kantonalbank, Lucerne, Switzerland (2017); Jahresausstellung Zentralschweizer Kunstschaffen, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Lucerne, Switzerland (2016). She was awarded two prizes in 2016, an “Exhibition Prize” from the Lucerne Art Society and an “Advancement Award” from the Zeugindesign Foundation.



2019 (deutsch)


Die Galerie Urs Meile freut sich die Einzelausstellung wild is the wind der jungen Künstlerin Rebekka Steiger (*1993 in Zürich, arbeitet in Luzern und Peking) anzukündigen. Gezeigt werden Malereien und Arbeiten auf Papier, die jüngst in Luzern und Peking entstanden. Die Ausstellung in Luzern folgt auf die in unserer Pekinger Galerie gezeigten Einzelpräsentation 猫头鹰–virages nocturnes, welche den Fokus auf Arbeiten legte, welche Rebekka Steiger während ihres Aufenthaltes in China realisierte, wo die Galerie Urs Meile ein Artist-in-residence-Programm führt. Während ihrer Residency zwischen März und November 2018 malte Steiger intensiv. Mithilfe der Malerei setzte sie sich mit der fremden Umgebung, in welche sie sich begeben hatte, auseinander – es entstanden zahlreiche Werke, wobei sich neue Motive entwickelten sowie eine spontanere Herangehensweise an die Malerei möglich wurde. Die Künstlerin begann außerdem ihre Arbeiten zu betiteln und dabei unterschiedliche Sprachen zu vermischen, um so durch unerwartete Wortassoziationen eine Art “poetisch-chemische Reaktion“ zu erzeugen.

In kompositorischer Hinsicht durchlief ihr Werk eine deutliche Transformation – es vermischen sich zunehmend die Grenzen zwischen Hinter-, Mittel- und Vordergrund. Das Ergebnis ist eine wachsende Spannung zwischen dem Abstrakten und dem Gegenständlichen, die anhand von Arbeiten wie xibu (2018, Ölkreide und Tempera auf Leinwand, 240 x 180 cm) oder hanging in midair (above sea) (2018, Öl und Tem- pera auf Leinwand, 100 x 80 cm) deutlich wird. Das Gemälde xibu zeigt auch das Interesse der Künstlerin an der Polysemie, sprich der Mehrdeutigkeit von Wörtern, und der Unvollkommenheit in der Übersetzung: so wählte Steiger für den Titel die Pinyin-Umschrift ohne Akzente für die Tonhöhen (also xī bù oder xì bù), was zwei unterschiedlichen Schriftzeichenpaaren entspricht: 西部 oder 细部. “Xibu“ kann deshalb entweder als “Westen“ oder als “Detail (einer Zeichnung)/kleiner Ausschnitt eines Ganzen“ übersetzt werden. Steiger spielt mit dem Bedeutungsverlust im Übersetzungsprozess, was es ihr erlaubt, die Interpretation offen zu lassen und dem Betrachter kein vorbestehendes Narrativ aufzuzwingen.

Gleiches gilt für die wiederkehrenden Motive, welche sich durch Rebekka Steigers Werk ziehen: Don- Quichotte-artige Reitergestalten, Vögel, ausbrechende Vulkane, faszinierende Pflanzen und Insekten, usw. Auch hier sind die Figuren nicht dargestellt, um Geschichten zu erzählen: das sehr persönliche “Formenvokabular“ lässt vielmehr zu, dass die Gedanken sich in der Darstellung ausruhen oder im Universum aus kraftvollen und farbenfrohen Pinselstrichen frei wandern. Während des Aufenthaltes in China haben einige dieser Motive eine Metamorphose erfahren, andere sind ganz neu in den Arbeiten aufgetaucht, wie z.B. die Andeutung eines Drachens (untitled, Gouache und Pastell auf Papier, 58 x 76 cm) oder einer Eule (cat-headed hawk (amor approximately), 2018, Gouache und Pastell auf Papier, 76 x 57 cm). Die Inspiration für das Eulenmotiv erhielt Steiger beim Besuch des Pekinger Antiquitätenmarkts, wo sie eine Eulenstatuette aus Bronze erstand. Es sind diese freien Assoziationen und “Zufallsbegegnungen“, wie sie sowohl die Malerin während des Schaffensprozess als auch der Betrachter bei der Auseinandersetzung mit ihrem Werk erleben können, die Rebekka Steigers Bildern ihren fesselnden Reiz verleihen.

Parallel zu wild is the wind zeigt das Kunst(Zeug)Haus Rapperswil in der Ausstellung If you see her, say hello eine Auswahl von Steigers Arbeiten (10. Februar bis 21. April 2019, Eröffnung: 10. Februar, 11.30 Uhr). Ein “Walk & Talk“ mit Rebekka Steiger und Petra Giezendanner, Leiterin der Sammlung, findet am 15. Februar um 18.30 Uhr statt.

Rebekka Steiger ist 1993 in Zürich geboren. Sie studierte 2013 bis 2016 Kunst an der Hochschule Luzern Design und Kunst. Zu ihren Einzelausstellungen gehören: 猫头鹰–virages nocturnes, Galerie Urs Meile Beijing (2018); Sykomore, Kabinettausstellung, Kunstmuseum Luzern (2017); Helen Faigle, Zürich (2015). Gruppenausstellungen: Extended Ground, Galerie Urs Meile Luzern (2017); Rebekka Steiger and Sven Egert, Luzerner Kantonalbank (2017); Jahresausstellung Zentralschweizer Kunstschaffen, Kunstmuseum Luzern (2016). Im Jahr 2016 wurde sie mit zwei Preisen ausgezeichnet, dem “Ausstellungspreis“ der Kunstgesellschaft Luzern und dem „Förderpreis“ der zeugindesign-Stiftung.