Capsule Shanghai is pleased to participate in the Frame section of Frieze New York 2022, presenting “Breath to Breath”, a solo project by Chinese artist Yan Xinyue.
Yan Xinyue's recent paintings unveil multiple facets of her understanding of urban life. With imagination, the artist translates individual circumstances, fleeting moments, and episodes she observes in the city onto the canvas, on which Yan highlights emotions such as passion, anxiety, and melancholy with a sense of detachment.
The contemporary city has been increasingly characterized by anonymity and delocalization, thus being transformed into similar "landscapes." These "landscapes" are constructed by a roster of painting techniques and color tones referring to Renaissance frescoes in Yan's images. She attempts to amplify subjective consciousness by portraying the perception at a particular moment and exploring possibilities of pictorial narrative and tension with skillful techniques. The artist foregrounds the objects that best capture emotions and abstracts the tension between multiple picture planes in the background.
For example, in The Witch Girl, the girl's teardrop rolls down her cheek, guiding the viewer's gaze to the crystal ball at the center. The bright and fine droplets in the foreground of Give Me One More Glass signify the bitterness of white-collar workers in the city, fusing with the drunken girl in the burgundy-colored infused background. The vibrant red leaves in Affection Under the City Light subtly outline the word "Love," transforming the subconscious look up at the urban sky into a moment of desire, or even jealousy, while the ever-expanding space symbolizes the distance between the artist's subjectivity and the objective reality. By contrasting and transforming perfection and incompleteness, Yan conjures these conflicting elements into one surface.
A compelling sense of wandering pervades Yan Xinyuan's paintings. The free-falling figure with translucent wings set against a rhythmic and abstract background in Dancing in the Clouds indicates the persona's escaping consciousness. In The Sophisticated Home #2, the living orchid with prominent texture vividly projects the vitality and desire enwrapped in "urban living." Like film vignettes, these works on canvas do not point to a definite space, time, or motive but show some of the "poignant moments" in an urban dweller's wandering life journey. Yan's imageries invite viewers to outline the image of an urban woman and discover moments of transcendence between the cracks of working time.
Text: Fiona He
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