Yan Xing
Two videos, three photographs, several related masterpieces, and American Art

The title of this series – Two videos, three photographs, several related masterpieces and American art – is paradoxical, suggesting the work is conceived in relation to its medium and a situation in art history and the region of the world in which it was made. Paradoxical but in the end, often true of the way in which art history is written. The presence of black men and the term “American Art” brings us back to Robert Mapplethorpe’s Black Book. Certain critics had judged this book as racist, with the idea that the black man is reduced to an object. For his defenders, it was above all, research into beauty, as in ancient Greece where art has created an ideal beauty in a platonic vision. Yan Xing is interested in transformations and interpretations. This series is conceived as a parody of American art thought of pure abstraction. An America that can refuse to think of itself as a land of emigration, crossed by the themes of racism and gender that are at the origin of the construction of its own identity. The American culture and the culture of appropriation, a certain form of cannibalism that nourishes other cultures, is at the center of this series.

Yan Xing, currently based between Los Angeles and Beijing, is known for his interdisciplinary projects that include sculpture, performance, video, photography and installation. The artist’s projects are often complex and conceptual with the body remaining central to all explorations. Through critical examinations, the artist imagines how history constructs our present. He interrogates literature, history and history of art. His work explores themes of negativity, resistance and order and the complexity of their connectivity.