On view from November 25 to March 9, 2023, this exhibition marks Yin’s first presentation in Hong Kong since her acclaimed institutional exhibition Yin Xiuzhen: Sky Patch opened at the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile (CHAT) in 2020. Yin’s show with Pace in Hong Kong, which follows her 2021 solo exhibition at Pace’s New York gallery, will spotlight her ongoing explorations of materiality. Among the 40 sculptures and installations on view, which date from 2008 to 2022, will be Yin’s new series The Surging Waves Chronicles, which has never before been exhibited publicly.
Yin is known for her deeply resonant installations incorporating everyday objects and materials, from used clothes and fabrics to porcelain and cement to fruits and plants. These layered, lyrical works—which serve as repositories of cultural memory—capture the undercurrents of disorientation and unease in modern society. Yin’s upcoming exhibition with Pace will bring together several bodies of work, most of which are being shown in Hong Kong for the first time, that reflect her longstanding interest in the variable qualities of her chosen materials.
Transmutations of seemingly static materials into lively, vital entities are central to Yin’s practice. In recent years, she has adopted porcelain as the core material for her work—compared to other materials that evolve slowly over time, porcelain undergoes extraordinary and rapid changes during its firing. At high temperatures, the originally soft, unremarkable clay becomes crystalline, cooling and solidifying as a glossy, talismanic object. The physical and symbolic energy transformations that take place as part of this process are especially fascinating to the artist.
With Yin’s latest series, titled The Surging Waves Chronicles and featured in her exhibition with Pace in Hong Kong, the artist embraces greater physicality in her work with porcelain clay, pushing and squeezing the raw material to create flesh-like folds on the surfaces of thick ceramic panels. The title of the work suggests its relationship to the Chinese tradition of ancient literati who make use of scenery to express emotions, and, on a visual level, the rolls and layers of porcelain clay ebb like waves, recalling Virginia Woolf's writings about the tide of life. The artist's iconic fragments of worn clothes emerge from the gaps between the waves. These fabrics are changing slowly over a longer span of time, recording the life experiences of their owners in the fibers.
The Hong Kong exhibition will also include works from Yin’s recent Ripple series, which was first presented at the 2020 Jinan Biennale. The Ripple installations incorporate organic materials—various fruits and plants—as part of Yin’s investigations of change and ephemerality. Since the 1990s, she has used materials such as fruit and food in her installations, allowing the works to change over time. With these works, the artist documents fleeting encounters among materials as well as the exchanges between viewers and the artwork. Through a kind of temporary dependence, the artist hopes to establish a continuous relationship between the artwork and its viewers.
Social and economic conditions have been focuses of Yin’s practice throughout her career. In recent years, she has used art’s spiritual powers to consider these issues against the transient, impermanent nature of human life. Her latest solo exhibition with Pace meditates on enactments of resiliency in her materials and her relationships to the crises of the current moment. In 2012, Yin Xiuzhen titled her solo exhibition with Pace Nowhere to Land, pointing to rapid changes, anxiety, and confusion associated with that era. Ten years later, her latest solo exhibition, Everywhere, attempts to present a more resilient form of life—like the ever-changing energies contained in the materials she choose—to counteract the violence and dilemmas facing humanity today.