chapter
3 Pages

Yin Xiuzhen

Yin Xiuzhen is part of the second wave of experimental art-making in China. Through her work

she explores the impact of rapid changes in government, economy, information, and movement

on society. Yin has been deeply influenced by the environment in which she grew up, a time of

intense ideological positions marked by the Cultural Revolution (CR). Yin explains:

While the CR created more “hardship” and “bitterness” and “regret” for the generations

before us, it left me-young [and] naïve then-with memories of “ideals,” “magnificence,”

“collectivity” and others … We studied Mao, read Marx and Lenin, and even though we

didn’t really know what it was about, our spirits were charged, and a bright future was

awaiting us … even with such little material wealth, we enjoyed great spiritual fulfillment

and happiness. The reforms of the 1980s brought us a new life, also full of passion

and ideals. Everyone has passionate feelings about the “Cultural Revolution” and the

“Reconstruction,” absorbing thought from other places at warp speed, catching every

intellectual wave. “Presence” and “absence” intermingled, as contradictions and conflicts

between isolation and openness, dictatorship and democracy became a new motivation,

In her work, Yin often incorporates used clothing as a metaphor for the “collective

unconscious.” She writes, “I believe that clothing is people’s second skin. She [clothing] has

Clothing first appeared in Yin’s work Suitcase (1995) in which she used cement to seal

her own clothing from a period of over thirty years in an old leather suitcase made by her father.