On View: Yin Xiuzhen’s “In the Spirit of Invincibility”

by Elysian Magazine

By Hannah Shepard

PACE Gallery has entertained visitors in Manhattan’s Chelsea district and nine other worldwide locations since opening its doors in 1960. Compromising that long-held vision over the course of quarantine, PACE has turned its attention to online exhibitions and a circuit of online art fairs that may be enjoyed from the comfort of home. A leading figure in the world of art sales, PACE has represented the most significant artists and estates of the 20th and 21st centuries including Chuck Close, Tara Donovan and Robert Rauschenberg.

On view from June 16th-30th is an exhibition from Beijing-born artist Yin Xiuzhen titled, In the Spirit of Invincibility, presenting everyday objects, porcelain and secondhand materials that carry poignant memories. The current web of her focus is global import, national histories, urbanization, environmental destruction and globalization’s erasure of difference.

“When you work with ceramics, at the beginning it is in clay form and, like dough, is very soft and pliable….” Yin told PACE. “But this struggle leaves a mark—cracked porcelain. I think this kind of contest is pervasive, for example, in nature, between people or among animals. There is a struggle to achieve some sort of balance.”

Yin Xiuzhen Bookshelf No. 17, 2009- 2013 used clothes and wood 50-3/16″ x 33-7/16″ x 11- 5/8″ (127.5 cm x 85 cm x 29.5 cm) No. 59788 © Yin Xiuzhen, courtesy Pace Gallery

Yin Xiuzhen is a leading experimental artist of the second wave in Chinese contemporary art, best known for her breathtaking sculptures and installations. Since the early 2000s, Yin has successfully established herself as an international artist, and many of her recent series explore the connection and emotion of travel and geography. Yin distinctively sets herself apart from other installation artists with her emphasis on how shapes can be inhabited, in whatever form that takes. Her work Dress Box (1994) contains the artist’s own childhood wardrobe and adulthood clothing, reorganized in a trunk created by her father. The act signifies the cultural tradition of a recently married woman selecting premarital belongings with which to bring into her husband’s household. For this piece, Yin poured concrete into the trunk to immortalize, and undeniably solidify, the contents of the trunk as a tangible, yet still remote, memory.

As with David Before Goliath and a previous two-person exhibition between Yin and Louise Nevelson at PACE, Yin’s art confronts these new challenges by using curated and manipulated objects as powerful conduits for what she calls, “a spirit of invincibility.” Yin has a preternatural eye for turning the mundane into delicate entities with great metaphorical and sensory depth.

To view Yin Xiuzhen’s work in her online solo exhibition, In the Spirit of Invincibility (June 16-30), at Pace Gallery, click here: https://www.pacegallery.com/online-exhibitions/yin-xiuzhen/

Featured Image: Yin Xiuzhen, Portable City: Hangzhou, 2011, suitcase, clothes, magnifying glass, map, sound element, 11″ x 59-13/16″ x 34-5/8″, No. 55268 © Yin Xiuzhen, courtesy Pace Gallery

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