12 rooms in Media Networks
Explore the use of everyday materials in Yin Xiuzhen’s sculptural objects which explore themes of power and identity
Weapon 2003-7 consists of a series of sculptures suspended from the ceiling. Hanging lengthways, they resemble missiles. The addition of small fruit knives emphasises an element of threat.
The shape of the objects was inspired by the Beijing Central Radio and Television Tower. Dominating the city’s skyline, the tower shows the importance of China’s broadcast media. For Yin, it represents the nation’s ‘soft power’. This is the exertion of control through economic and cultural means rather than the ‘hard power’ of military force.
The missiles are made using fabric from second-hand clothing.The worn textiles are stretched over a frame of extendable curtain rods and metal hoops. This use of domestic materials to make threatening objects subverts the idea that the home is a place of safety or refuge.
Yin’s interest in textiles began during her childhood when her mother worked in a garment factory. By repurposing old fabrics,she shows that these are not disposable commodities but materials that carry traces of their history and the lives of their former owners.
Yin Xiuzhen, Weapon 2003–7
Weapon 2003–7 is composed of thirty individual ‘missiles’, each one measuring almost four metres in length. Each of these is constructed from plastic drying rods and metal hoops, over which different fabrics have been stretched and knotted. At the end of every projectile protrudes the blade of a small kitchen knife. When displayed, the missiles are suspended from the ceiling with fishing wire, at various heights, with the blades pointing in the same direction.
artworks in Yin Xiuzhen
Art in this room
An interview with one of the most established experimental artists in China since the 1990s, Yin Xiuzhen
ReadSeries of interviews with Chinese women artists conducted by Monica Merlin, post-doctoral researcher at Tate Research Centre: Asia 2013–14