Yan Xing is known for his multi-component, interdisciplinary projects that combine diverse media such as performance, video, photography, installation and painting. Yan Xing has built a complex, compelling body of work that reflects critically on how history is manufactured today. Through the intensive investigation of literature, history, and art theory, he has worked out an artistic narrative governed by its own logic. His works circulate around large themes such as negativity, resistance, and order, exploring their complex interrelations.
Yan Xing was born in Chongqing in 1986. He graduated from the Oil Painting department of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2009. In the same year, he moved to Beijing and founded Yan Xing Studio. In 2012 Yan Xing won the Chinese Contemporary Art Award for Best Young Artist; that year, he also received a nomination for the Future Generation Art Prize from the Pinchuk Art Centre and Focus on Talents Project from Today Art Museum.
Yan Xing has exhibited and performed extensively, at venues such as the Kunsthalle Basel; Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX; Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, CA; Tenuta Dello Scompiglio, Capannori; Espacio de Arte Contemporáneo, Montevideo; Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine; Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne; Tromsø Kunstforening; Power Station of Art, Shanghai; China Central Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Beijing; Iberia Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. His works have been featured at 7th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale (2012); 3rd Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2012) and 3rd Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art (2015), among others.
In 2013, Yan Xing initiated and founded the Honourable East India Institute (HEII, www.heii.no), a new academic organization designed to research and reexamine the achievements as well as the failures of scholarship in Far Eastern Studies. Yan Xing is also a co-founder of the artist collective, COMPANY.
In addition to his work as an artist, Yan Xing has curated exhibitions, including Dream Plant, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing (2007); Mummery, Art Channel, Beijing (2010); and Fact Study Institute, Yangtze River Space, Wuhan (2011).
Yan Xing has lectured at the University of the Arts Helsinki, Helsinki; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; and the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, among others. In 2016–2017, he was a Visiting Artist in the Department of Sculpture of the Yale School of Art.
Yan Xing currently lives and works in Los Angeles and Beijing.