In this installation work from Yin Xiuzhen’s “Collective Subconscious”, an abandoned van was sawn into two parts and then reconnected with an extended steel structure. All tightly wrapped in a patchwork of clothes, this method extended the van to a length of 14 meters.
Project 92: Yin Xiuzhen ( Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2010)
The van, known in Chinese as xiaomian (小面, literally, little loaf of bread) or miandi (面的, literally, bread taxi), was used as a taxi in the 90’s. Yin chose this van as a medium because of its status as an iconic image of the Chinese people’s dream to have a car, house, and a better life.Hailing a “bread taxi” was quite a luxury, and it triggers memories of that time. Yin explains, “In a rapidly changing China, ‘memory’ seems to vanish more quickly than anything else. That’s why preserving memory has become an alternative way of life.”
Inside Yin Xiuzhen’s “Collective Subconscious” at the Pace Beijing, 2013.
In order to emphasize collective memory, Yin uses four hundred pieces of clothing collected from different people, turning this private little van into an elongated public bus. “This is a mixture of collectivist idealism and ‘compressed’ reality.”
Collective Subconscious, installation, 2007
Inside the clothes-tunnel van, seats are scattered about the glistening stainless steel floor for visitors to sit and relax. The outside light faintly gleams through the clothes, producing a similar effect to those of a soothing stained-glass window. The melodic “Beijing, Beijing” (《北京，北京》) plays on a loop inside the van, turning this heap of steel and clothes into a borderline spiritual experience.
Materials: van, stainless steel, second hand clothes, stools
Time of Creation: 2007
Yin Xiuzhen, a leading female figure in Chinese contemporary art.
Photographs courtesy of Pace Beijing.