Yin Mei: Living Line

Installation Views

Ethan Cohen Gallery

Yin Mei: Living Line

May 6 – June 18th, 2022

Opening Reception: May 6 from 6–8 pm

Ethan Cohen Gallery is pleased to present Living Line, the first solo exhibition by Yin Mei, the celebrated female Chinese artist based in New York.

Kinetic in all senses, Yin Mei's monumental paintings invoke the timeless Chinese tradition of ink on paper, but scaled so large that they often encompass three vertical floors. To their invention she brings a trance-like physical and performative execution, utilizing her body, limbs and extremities as brush, in a complete danced encounter with the painting surface as partner, vessel and portal to transcendence. The result is a swirling glimpse into the purest forces of creation within the artist and at the universe's core, an abstraction of chaos realized. In Chinese mythology, the Gates of Heaven allow bodies to pass through and become souls, framing the eternal exchange between energy and form. Yin Mei's canvases serve a similar function, acting as receptacles for embodied forces reincarnating into elemental markings. What we see discharged are swashes, sweeps, torsion lines, sudden or elongated brushstrokes, dark impressions of cosmic secrets and nebular implosions amid the human struggle to encompass and cohere.


Yin Mei's years-long practice as a renowned dancer and choreographer, the personification of channeled life-force, informs the expressionist dance of abstraction transmitted to the painting ground. She accomplishes her works by moving her body as brush across spaces of paper laid on the floor, stepping or twisting across them, alighting here and detailing there in sustained motion. One feels that, here for the first time through the medium of painting, the artist has found a new and needed outlet not only to express celestial energies but also to transcend psychological turmoils and compacted personal traumas. The works constitute a unique form of “danced ink” – or embodied calligraphy – that blurs the line between the visual and performative forms of artistic expression. The works exhibited are the remnants of a moment, a movement in time – standing as resonances of an eternal passing. Her new-found art form has given her liberation and resolution anew.


Living Line showcases a selection of works that Yin Mei created during her residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in May 2021, in collaboration with Yin Mei Dance company, and dancers Erick Montes and Taylor Myers.