Ying, Xinxun works and teaches at the Fiber Art Department of the Chinese Academy of Fine Art. Her artistic creations include fiber installation, body installation, light installation, theatrical exhibition, image and video, painting and so on. Her works have a particular focus on the living condition of contemporary people, such as issues like how technology reshape people’s way of perception and how people find their way to live together with technology in the current techno-ecology.
In this episode, Ying starts with sharing her idea behind one of her works “Don’t worry” which she created based on her personal experience witnessing her mother’s surgery. The title of the work is drawn from the doctor’s words “Don’t worry, I’ll suture nicely for you”. Being inspired by the comforting power of this sentence, she started the creation of this series of works. By combining soft fibers which have a particular sense of intimacy with human skin and other “sensorial materials” with a touch of technological sense put by Ying, she gave a unique liveness to her beautifully shaped artistic “creatures” with vivid “scars”. Scars are usually ugly and hurting, but by resting independently in a peaceful atmosphere, these “creatures” and their “scars” visualize a contrast between a virtualized soft beauty and actual dangerous reality, and arouse a mixed feeling of unsettling and comforting, reflecting our deep anxiety towards our contemporary reality and the ruthless passing of time. The use of the title “don’t worry” thus gain a particular meaning and also a sense of aspiration for recognizing our own power for coping with it.
Creating a new “species” or “synthetic creatures” with new material experiments is Ying’s way for exploring the actual living condition of contemporary people. In another work of hers, “Birdy,” performers wearing wings stand on a swing. This work is inspired by Foucault’s idea that “Madness always seems to suffer the fate of confinement, and confinement becomes the reason why madness exists.” In Ying’s work, the seemingly mad performers in their hopeless pursuit of flying looks both sad and beautiful, and reveals a contradiction of the confinement and self-release of contemporary people.
Ying also shares her observation on the practice of the new generation of artists. Unlike their pioneers working in the age of the 1980s, Ying thinks that without the historical burden and regulation of art media, the new art practices have a unique sense of freedom and relaxation.