'The city's voice was too tender, even the winds would not tune its strings. The city's face beamed like a child arranging his dreams for nightfall, bidding the morning to sit beside him on his chair.'—Adonis, Desert
Capsule Shanghai is delighted to host Summer Mist, the first solo exhibition of Yan Xinyue, featuring her paintings from the past two years. The exhibition will open on August 12, 2020.
As a young artist, Yan Xinyue continuously dedicates her creativity to exploring painting through in-depth investigations of a scope of different themes. From office workers in suits and deformed motorbikes, to figures wandering the streets, Yan resituates moments of struggle and anxiety within a dramatised setting, infusing them with a dose of innocent playfulness and romantic imagination. Underlying the dream-like image is an orchestrated process of emotional reverse; through her treatment of colours, lines, light, and space, she invites viewers to revisit moments from her life. Released from the weight and tedium of everyday reality, the viewer empathises with the artist by experiencing her visions in the familiar context of the city.
When comparing painting with literature, Yan's works are like short stories that dichotomise the metropolis with personal everyday life experiences. Free of the restraint of serial works, she embraces intuitive moments of inspiration, exploring the possibilities of painting without constraint or fear. Surprises hide in the details that the artist carefully arranges: in the Heartbroken Motorbike series, cords exposed from the fractured motorbike resemble fluttering blood vessels. The vibrant colours transform a brutal car accident into a joyful moment of motorbike's strike and rest. In Hold On #1 and Mother (Edmund in Cormio), the juxtaposition of a pink colour block, exotic leopard print, and snakeskin creates a sense of conflict. In her recent works painted in 2020, Yan started to experiment with painting waterdrops scattered in the foreground, diluting the sense of melancholy with a playful and lively tinge.
However, unlike short stories, Yan's paintings do not formulate specific narratives, but rather depict fleeting gestures and emotions in the moment. More precisely, her paintings, rooted in her imagination and reproduction of urban life, blend observation with memory and fiction, and reflect the artist's Proustian way of thinking and the complexity of reality and human emotions. Noteworthy is Yan's highly stylised treatment of edges and background. Fluxes of saturated colours render the image with a psychedelic sense of motion; the subject shades onto the background—lines and edges are blurred using different techniques of brushing, highlighting, overlay and dripping—shrouding the canvas with an obscure and mysterious haze, and taking on an aura unreplicable in the electronic age.
Press release courtesy Capsule Shanghai. Text: Liya Han.