Venue：Special Project Space, F2, HOW Art Museum (Shanghai)
Organizer: HOW Art Museum
The HOW Art Museum is pleased to announce that the fourth exhibition in the ongoing project "Me & Beuys", will open on March 27th, 2021. The exhibition will be held in the exhibition hall on the 2nd-floor of the HOW Art Museum (Shanghai). This project invites one artist every four months to engage in a dialogue with works from HOW Art Museum’s Beuys collection, the works produced by the dialogue will be presented in the Beuys exhibition area forming an “exhibition within an exhibition.” The project is moderated by curator Du Xiyun. In the fourth exhibition, artist Yin Xiuzhen uses her work One Piece of Highway to open a dialogue with Beuys.
When ordinary life is on an accelerated pace of transformation under the impact of science and technology, individuals trapped in it have no choice but to feel increasingly helpless. The intensities between free will and orders feed art with the possibilities to ferment. This time, artist Yin Xiuzhen transforms the white-cube gallery space, a place where habitual experience and perception are often met with challenge, into a construction site and invites people to join her to water and mix cement. Together they could create a “highway” block by block. As a contrast to all the hustle and bustle, a simple and mild action like this sends out a warm invitation to people to indulge themselves in hands-on experience, rationality and transcendence… Highway is a highly visible indicator of the development level of infrastructure. By placing a cement mixer in the gallery space, Yin Xiuzhen gives those who want to make a cement block by themselves an opportunity to operate the mixer, pour the concrete into prefabricated mold with a daily object they’d like to embed in. The process of manual labor is no different from what tens of thousands of construction workers experience on an everyday basis. Probably it is even a bit more “manual”: as the drastic development of mechanical automation has already taken the place of manual work in many aspects. Cement powder has the capacity to become hardened during the process of chemical reaction. Each participating “laborer” chooses a piece of daily object to be embedded in the soft and moist concrete... In a society witnessing increasing changes, encounters among people with different visions, among experiences from the past and the present, would inspire new sparkles in this context. Daily object is a vehicle containing the unique traces and even smells of its owner. Before the cement hardens, Yin Xiuzhen and her working partners would take the daily objects out and pour butter into the hollow space they leave. The sweet and fragrant butter seems to be in contest with the cement that is getting hardened on the dimension of time. On the one hand, cement, the inorganic matter, blocks the way of butter, the organic matter. But on the other, grease of the butter slowly spreads and sinks into the cement, dissolving the hardness of it… When the fragment butter is taking shape in the “mold” created by the daily object and slowly sinks into the cement, a unique sense of aesthetics is radiated from within both visually and olfactorily. In ancient times and even nowadays, butter is often imbued with multiple sacred implications in many parts of the world, and it is widely considered to stand for strength, power, holiness, kindness, happiness, health, purity and quality life. During the slow process of making, the laborers physically touch the substance that has been ruthlessly neglected, disenchanted and de-emotionalized by the drastically rapid development, summon the sentimental feelings and experience embedded in themselves, and witness the changing “reality” in the flow of time. Braking is the process of making a vehicle go slower or stop. As the system is on a track of continuous acceleration, every individual who is trapped in it is doomed to feel powerless. Under such circumstance, people would easily feel frustrated. However, the world is also brimming with uncertainties beyond the control of the system. As a result, the constantly accelerating system would experience unexpected braking every now and then, which opens up a door for new possibilities to sneak in. One Piece of Highway is a simple and mild action, inviting people to come to work on the “construction site”, and to test the potential of “braking” during the physical touching of construction materials – as the inertia we experience on the highway tends to make it elusive and somewhat distant.
Yin Xiuzhen was born in Beijing in 1963. She graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Capital Normal University in 1989, and now lives and works in Beijing. Yin Xiuzhen started her contemporary art practice in the early 1990s. Her works are experimental and diverse. They use different people’s experiences, memories and the imprints of the times as one of her key creative elements, and uses materials that feature introspection and experimentation that showcase a broad expression of creative and artistic forms. Her works are multidisciplinary, and include installation, performance, ceramics, video, painting and sculpture. She has participated in many important international art exhibitions and has become a female artist with broad international influence. She has participated in the Venice Biennale; the Chinese pavilion at the Venice Biennale; São Paulo Biennial; the Biennale of Sydney; the Shanghai Biennale; the Gwangju Biennale, the Yokohama Triennale, the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, among others. She also has held solo exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in New York, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, and the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, in Germany. Her works have been collected by the Tate Modern in the United Kingdom, the Centre Pompidou in France, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, the Mori Art Museum in Japan, the Museum Kunstpalast, in Düsseldorf, Germany, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, the M+ in Hong Kong, and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, among other foundations and institutions.
Curator, Born in 1978. He received his bachelor's degree in oil painting from the school of fine arts in 2000 and his master's degree in fine arts history from Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 2006. He was deputy director of HOW Art Museum, deputy director of Shanghai Himalayas Museum.His artistic views have been published in various magazines and publications, and he used to work as the chief editor of ARTTIME. He has been involved in organizing and planning several exhibitions and projects, most recently: (2020)Me&Beuys·Zhao Bandi's Hut - A Noah's Ark in the Post-Pandemic Era, HOW Art Museum, Shanghai; (2020)Me&Beuys·Yang Zhenzhong, HOW Art Museum, Shanghai; (2020)Co-constructing, Jinji Lake Art Museum, Suzhou; (2019)Me&Beuys·Zhou Xiaohu, HOW Art Museum, Shanghai; (2018)Muntadas: Asia Protocols, Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing; (2017)The future is here: Musical frenzy from Madrid to Beijing, Instituto Cervantes of Beijing; Today’s Yesterday: The 1st Anren Biennale, Anren; (2016)Historicode: Scarcity&Supply/ The 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival, Baijia Lake Museum, Nanjing; BEIJING 798 GENESIS(2002-2006), Museum of Song Zhuang, Beijing.