Yin Xin exhibition at the Orbis Pictus gallery, photo: Axel G.

From distant China where he was born, deep in the Gobi desert – which is also the land of the Uighurs – to the most important Parisian art galleries and le Marais, the trajectory of the painter Yin Xin is unique, exceptional, without equivalent.

Exhibited these days at the Orbis Pictus gallery, five meters from the Picasso museum, his work can be seen both as a picture book of traditional China and as a nod to the “great ancients” of European painting, starting with the chiaroscuro masters George de la Tour (1593-1652) and Caravaggio (1571-1610) whom he admired.

© Yin Xin, Smoking opium in the dark, 2009 Acrylic on canvas / 130 x 97 cm

As a child, Yin Xin began painting by reproducing images of communist propaganda during the Cultural Revolution. “At the time, I did not fully grasp the notion of class struggle evoked in the images that I copied,” says the artist with the look of a Parisian dandy. “But I was won over by the colors and the brushwork; This is how my life as a painter began, without me knowing where it would lead me,” adds the well-dressed artist.

After studying fine arts in China then in Melbourne (Australia), he arrived in Paris in the early 1990s where he experienced an artistic renaissance. This pushed him towards Christian art, European classicism imbued with nostalgia and homage paintings executed “in the manner of”.

At the Victor and Albert Museum in London, his exhibition “Botticelli reminagined” revisits the work of this Renaissance genius by sinicizing the faces of the Italian master's works. At the Orbis Pictus gallery, we find this process in Le Fifre (1866) by Édouard Manet or in american Gothic (1930) by Grant Wood, both sinicized by Yin Xin.

© Yin Xin, After Whistler, The Artist's Mother (1871), 2016 Acrylic on canvas / 120 x 120 cm

The artist also exhibits at the Staatliche Museen in Berlin and, extraordinarily, at Notre-Dame-de-Paris. The Catholic hierarchy commissioned a painting from him in memory of Saint Paul Chen. Along with two other works by Yin Xin, the painting was blessed on May 27, 2018 during a religious procession.

Hanging in a chapel located at the entrance to the cathedral, on the left, the three paintings were miraculously spared by the fire of April 2019, then stored in the Louvre. Which makes Yin Xin the only living artist who can say that his work is in the Louvre after having been in Notre-Dame!

With the hook “And after?” », gallery owner Sitor Senghor makes us discover the extravagant trajectory of the most Parisian of Chinese artists who found the perfect balance in the classicism of the French capital. And who nevertheless cultivates the disturbing art of ambiguity. Because, friend of chiaroscuro, Yin Xin subtly blurs our historical benchmarks and the notion of time to better dialogue with the universal.

Until February 25

" And after ? », Yin Xin
Orbis Pictus Gallery (formerly Thessa Herold Gallery)

7, rue de Thorigny 75003 Paris, France
From Tuesday to Saturday 11AM - 19PM
Closed Monday and Sunday

© Yin Xin, Smoking, 2016, Acrylic on canvas / 68 x 135 cm

Text: Axel G.

25.01.23

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