FRIEZE | ‘Breath to Breath’: Yan Xinyue Paints the Psychological Landscapes of City Dwellers

Frieze, FRIEZE, May 19, 2022

We talk to the Chinese artist about her urban scenes of passion, anxiety, and melancholy, featuring in the Frame section at Frieze New York 2022.


For the Frame section of Frieze New York 2022, Capsule Shanghai (FR2) presents new paintings by Yan Xinyue, depicting the tension in everyday life in the context of rapid urban development.


The title of the project, “Breath to Breath,” refers to the desires and self-destructive routines present in people residing in the spirit and time of metropolitan life.  Like film vignettes, these works do not point to a definite space, time, or motive but depict poignant moments in a city dweller’s existence, inviting viewers to discover glimpses of transcendence, joy, melancholy or hedonism between cracks of working time. Reality and fantasy  are  often mixed  on  the  same  canvas,  revealing the conflict between personal desires and societal expectations.


For instance, the free-falling figure with translucent wings set against a rhythmic and abstract background in Dancing in the Clouds suggests a fleeting moment of escape from mundane consciousness. In Give Me One More Glass, we see a woman look for another kind of escape in alcohol, the bright droplets in the foreground of the painting suggesting the bitterness of white-collar workers in the city. Another canvas, The Witch Girl depicts a businesswoman urgently attempting to predict the future. 




About Frame at Frieze New York  
Comprising eleven participating galleries, Frame allows visitors and collectors to see work by artists who may not have previously benefited from a major international platform to show their work. 


This year, Frame is advised by gallerists Olivia Barrett (Château Shatto, Los Angeles) and Sophie Mörner (Company Gallery, New York).