Powerlong Museum | Spectacle Sanatorium: Ying Xinxun

Source: Powerlong Museum   Published: September 18, 2022



Organized by Powerlong Museum, the solo project “Spectacle Sanatorium” by artist Ying Xinxun opened on September 17, 2022 in Shanghai.


Based on the transformation of material language and the observation of the interdependence, infestation or confrontation between people and various media in modern life, Ying Xinxun's works focus on the “deformation” of common objects in daily life, and through a series of “alien” objects, she prompts people to think about the subjectivity and independence of “human beings” at the levels of both biological meaning and consciousness. In the artist's view, in such a consumer society controlled by information media, the tools of labor, consumption and life have, to a certain extent, gone beyond the extension of “human” ability to understand and transform the world, and have created a new “synthetic creature” in the integration of such tools. Ying Xinxun moves from individual to space, from fragmented issues to contextual constructions, from static works to on-site interactions, treating creation as a living organism and promoting the growth consciousness of works with clear thinking. Autobiographical and symbolic capacities gradually evolve into a kind of contextual construction, using the transformation of everyday objects to build a “small habitat” of the present era, exploring the diversity of “creatures” based on the perception of life.








“Spectacle Sanatorium” is the latest version of the “Velvet Project”, which artist Ying Xinxun has been implementing since 2018. She uses inexpensive and easily available “faux velvet” materials to build a scene of “everyday beauty”, visually responding to the “filtered” spectacle of modern life and awakening the neural perception, material memory and imagination latent under the concrete materials. However, “Spectacle Sanatorium” is not a “work” in the conventional sense, but a mechanism of participation designed by the artist in a scenario setting. She uses material selection and detail design as a means of “packaging”, coding with the intersection of real-life action and imposed meaning in consumer society, and invites the audience to “live” their own joy and sorrow in it; in the process of touching, feeling and interacting with the work, the audience is inclined to push the direction of the “storyline” of the site, to complete the intellectual transformation of life together with the artist, and to create a “work” that belongs to each individual.


The implementation of the exhibition at Powerlong Museum is based on the legacy of the previous exhibition space. The entire exhibition, from the entrance to the end, uses human touch and viewing to form the main line to complete the transformation of scenes, similar to the setting of a theater space. The scenes are transformed from one to the next, in which déjà vu is created in the four spatial settings: family life, words, secrets and public “art”.


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The artist uses “touchable” works to follow the tactile nerve of the viewer to enter his or her heart, and the mixture of touch and vision becomes an important foundation. “Spectacle Sanatorium” has been insisting on the way of limited creation in the existing space, relying on its own creativity to maximize the effective transmission of information with minimal resources, and providing a passage from the interior of the spectacle to the “illusion of the world” with the language of contextualization. As the idiom goes, “pierce your shield with your own spear”; the artist uses the rhetoric of spectacle as a tool to recognize and criticize the conflict between consciousness and the power of real-life indoctrination inherent in the spectacle itself.


The concept of the “New Sensation Series” was inspired by the “New Sensation School” in writing in Shanghai in the 1930s, in the hope that art can illuminate our world and worldview with the simplest experience after the long quarantine of the city and the relentless COVID-19 pandemic.


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In the opening, Ms. Xu Ke, editor-in-chief of ArtChina, Mr. Wu Chen, editor-in-chief of The Economist, curator Ms. Shen Ruijun, artist Ying Xinxun, and Wang Xiaosong, curator of the exhibition, took “Spectacle Sanatorium” as the starting point and discussed the topic of feminism and experience from different perspectives of economics and art. Afterwards, performance artist Jamey Braden improvised for the exhibition, and the artist gave a special tour.


The exhibition will be on display until October 30, during which the museum will launch a series of public events, so stay tuned.


Ying Xinxun, Ph.D, now works as Deputy Director of the Department of Fiber Art and Academic Head of the Fiber Plastic Arts Studio of China Academy of Art, Hangzhou. Her artistic creations are based on daily life, and she is good at exploring the social “texture” of materials and objects to express certain current social phenomena. Recently, she has focused on issues such as society-era relationship and ideology presented by “spectacle society”, “packaging”, and “surface”, as well as post-aesthetics and contemporaneity, exploring the relationship amongst media, body and society. Her forms of art include installation, fiber art, video, performance, theater performance, painting, etc. She has been sponsored by Today Art Museum and Martell Art Foundation for an art residency and study tour in Düsseldorf, Germany. Recently, she went to Berlin for a 3-month art residency.


Wang Xiaosong, PhD, art critic and curator, Executive Director of Shanghai Powerlong Museum of Art.


From 2006 to 2012, he worked at He Xiangning Art Museum, and from 2015 to 2017, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University. During his tenure at He Xiangning Art Museum, he planned and chaired the “Voices of Humanities – He Xiangning Art Museum Academic Lecture Series” for 100 consecutive sessions, which has become one of the most influential public academic lectures in mainland China.

Important exhibitions that he curated and participated in include: “The Art and Life of He Xiangning: Mapping, Illustrating and Documenting the Landscape of History – He Xiangning Art Museum’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition” (He Xiangning Art Museum, 2007), “Hypallage, the Post-Modern Mode of Chinese Contemporary Art” (OCT Art & Design Gallery, Shenzhen, 2008), “A Cross-strait Four Regions Artistic Exchange Project” (1st to 4th years, He Xiangning Art Museum, Hong Kong Arts Center, etc., 2009-2012), “Xu Bing Forest Project” (He Xiangning Art Museum, 2009), “Utopias · Heterotopias – Wuzhen International Contemporary Art Exhibition” (Wuzhen, Zhejiang, 2017), Xu Bing's solo exhibition (United Art Museum, Wuhan, 2017), “The 4th Documentary Exhibition of Fine Arts / Stress Field” (Hubei Museum of Art, 2017), “Annual Arts Exhibition between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries – The Universe” (Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macao SAR Government, 2018), “Now is the Time – 2019 Wuzhen Contemporary Art Exhibition” (Wuzhen, Zhejiang, 2019), “Boundless Encounters – the 3rd Hangzhou Triennial of Fiber Art” (Zhejiang Art Museum, Art Museum of China Academy of Art, China National Silk Museum, 2019), “From the Mundane World – Inaugural Exhibition of the He Art Museum” (He Art Museum, 2020), “Down-to-Earth: X Ways of Spatial Planning” (Yuelai Art Museum, Chongqing, 2021), and “Asia Cruise – Physical Evidence” (Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts, 2013), “Transforming – 2013 Dialogue in Garden Art Exhibition” (Yucun Art Museum, Suzhou, 2013), “I Recognized the World – Born in the 80s and 90s” (Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art, 2021), “Sensuous Suzhou – An Art Specimen of Local Modernity” (Suzhou Jinji Lake Art Museum, 2021), and “Quyuan Garden Project” (Quyuan Garden, Suzhou, 2021). In addition, he was commissioned by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council to initiate and curate the Chinese art biennial project “Global Chinese Painting and Calligraphy Exhibition”, which has been held for three years at the Cultural Palace of Nationalities in Beijing, Tianjin Art Museum, and He Xiangning Art Museum respectively.


Since 2011, he has written more than one hundred art and design reviews as a columnist for art media such as Chinese Contemporary Art News, Hi Art, and Art Monthly. He is the author of a collection of literary and art criticism, “Under the Sight” (China Photographic Publishing House, 2016). He has edited and published more than twenty collections of special literature on designers and artists such as Kan Tai-keung, Han Meilin, and Xu Bing, Zhou Chunya, Yue Minjun, Liu Jianhua, Mao Tongqiang, and Liu Xuguang.