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Pace Galleries

"Yin Xiuzhen": Reviewed by Artforum

Yin Xiuzhen’s works have been accorded femininity for the “soft” nature of her signature material: reclaimed fabrics from secondhand clothes. But the artist’s womanly virtues perhaps culminate in her “enterable” spaces, whose employ seems to have reached a crescendo in Collective Subconscious, 2007, currently on display at the Museum of Modern Art. For the piece, viewers are invited to step inside a patchwork caterpillar adjoining two ends of a nostalgic Chinese “breadbox car,” a minibus whose colorful interior, scattered with bar stools, invites communal experiences. In Beijing, Yin’s recent interest in modes of transportation seems bent toward exploring the human body and cultivating experiences on the individual level. Sleeves dangle and collars protrude from the surface of an enormous blue brain sculpture in Thought, 2009; the nuances of the discarded clothes make them seem like souls trying to escape a collective consciousness. Yet there is space within the work—somewhere near the hippocampus—for one viewer to stand and contemplate the structure’s elaborate frame. Echoing “Second Skin,” the exhibition’s title, Skin Cube, 2009, is a magnified cross section of human epidermis also constructed from clothing; it demands association with nearby fleshy sponges flecked with powder and boxed in transparent cases. The miniaturized slice of thoroughfare in Highway, 2009, utilizes apparel as its asphalt but features realistic light fixtures and guardrails. Here, Yin’s modes of transportation have been replaced with a desolate scene. The funereal element that lurks in her work becomes evident again, and the cast-off clothing, still her strongest material, implies that dozens of people have become the blacktop and white lines of the road itself.
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