Xⁿ Talk | 尹秀珍 Yin Xiuzhen
“[…] my mother would often buy the leftover scraps of cloth of patch together clothes for us. I learned how to stitch and alter clothes from her when I was a child. It was only at New Year that I’d get a real set of new clothes, and so in my memories, clothing has always been something very precious. I’d wear one piece of clothing for years.
My interest lies in people’s experiences. I can look at old photographs for hours. Shitao famously said that he ‘scoured the mountains for his sketches”. I’ve replaced ‘mountains’ with ‘experiences’: I ‘scour experiences for my sketches’. I see clothing as a second skin. Once it’s been worn, it bears the traces of the wearer’s experiences and times.
[…] When we reuse materials that come from people’s experiences, we come to a new recognition of the concept of the ‘readymade’. In this consumption, and as I reuse these ‘experienced materials’, it becomes a starting point for recapturing value.
——Except from a conversation between Hou Hanru & Yinxiuzhen, in the book Yin Xiuzhen, co-authored by Wu hong, Hou Hanru, and Stephanie Rosenthal, published by Phaidon
| Yin Xiuzhen
Dress Box, 1995
Yin Xiuzhen at her studio, photographed by Song Dong
Xⁿ: Using clothing to make art is one of your characteristics. Could you please tell us how exactly you utilise the material?
Yin: It depends on the situation. For larger pieces, the clothes are like colours on a palette, so throw the different colours onto a pre-made frame as needed to see the effect before adjusting. Once you have adjusted it, you can then lay it out to find the relationship between each specific piece of clothing and pin it with a large head. I usually hand stitch the complicated areas and take the large simple areas off the frame and use the sewing machine. After sewing the whole thing, I put it back on the frame and adjust it, cutting out and re-sewing any out of shape areas.
Xⁿ: You plan to exhibit your early large-scale work TVT-Rocket in this exhibition. In what context was TVT-Rocket created?
Yin: TVT-Rock is a site-specific artwork created in a church for Montpellier Biennale in France. It was also exhibited in the Netherlands later. It is the first time that it exhibits here in China. TVT-Rock discusses the discourse power of media. The TV tower is a carrier of discourse power and a tool for media dissemination. Although its dominating discourse power has been undermined with the advent of “We-Media” (self-media), the trend of media becoming a “new cult” has become more pronounced. When we installed the work in Montpellier, we were able to re-examine the “new cult” in the context of the church. By moving the rocket into the commercial building of Three on the Bund, where the Shanghai Gallery of Art (SGA) is located, it has both blended with the atmosphere of the consumer era to form a place of "new cult" and a dialogue with the real Oriental Pearl TV Tower outside the window.
Xⁿ: Both Weapon and TVT-Rocket were made based on the shape of the TV tower. You also installed sharp knives on the top of the “rockets”. Is there any connection between these two works?
Yin: Weapon was made in 2003. They were works of almost the same period. Although they do not belong to the same series, I would say that they are all reflections of the relationship between media, discourse power, and our current life.
Weapon is a small TV tower, and at the same time, an ancient spear, with a fruit knife strapped to the top. TVT-Rocket is about 14 metres high. However, it has a fake knife top made of stainless steel instead of an actual blade.
Plushy Terrorism 5, Exhibition View at the Shanghai Gallery of Art, 2008
Xⁿ: We regard your work as a kind of collage. What do you think of that?
Yin: I collage the different experiences of people and the marks left by different eras. When I was a child, I used to make shoe soles together with my mother. We stuck the clothes scraps and old clothes that we could not wear anymore together, and paste them together over and over again with a paste made of noodles to make a "cloth plywood" of a certain thickness and hardness. Then we cut the fabric into certain shapes according to the size and the appearance of the shoes to make the shoe soles. This is the origin of the traditional cotton shoes “Qian Ceng Di 千层底” (meaning “a thousand layers of cloth stacked together into the sole”). This experience gave me a lot of inspirations. By stitching up different people’s used clothes, I stitched up their body temperatures and experiences. This has become the most frequently used means of expression of my art. Life is a continuous process of disassembling and patching-up. In this process, our souls come through and feeds back into our lives to re-inspire us.
Plushy Terrorism 2, 2004
Xⁿ: Wu Hong divides your works of art into four categories: 1. Placing the local life into an international context; 2. In search of the shared memories in the global space; 3. Critiquing the homogenisation of the local power mechanism and the global power mechanism; 4. Reflecting on the control, which the connection between the local and the global world is constrained by. This work (TVT-Rocket) falls into the same fourth category as the " Plushy Terrorism " you exhibited at SGA in 2008.I wonder about your opinion on these four categories.
Yin: As the creator of these works, I think the four categories should be mingled with each other.
Born in Beijing, China in 1963
Currently working and living in Beijing, China
Yin Xiuzhen’s work was shown in Collage: The Card Players, a curatorial project by Xⁿ Office in 2017.
Yin Xiuzhen at her studio, photographed by Song Dong
——侯瀚如与尹秀珍对谈，摘自巫鴻、侯瀚如及史蒂芬妮‧羅森泰爾 (Stephanie Rosenthal) 合著的《尹秀珍》(Phaidon出版)
Xⁿ ： 这次展览您计划展示颇具体量的早期作品“电视塔-火箭”（TVT-Rocket ）， “电视塔-火箭”是在什么样的契机下创作的？
曾参加Xⁿ Office 2017年策展项目 “拼贴：玩纸牌的人”