Xiaojing Yan, LINGZHI GIRL, cultivated lingzhi mushrooms and wood chips 19x20x18 inches. 2016-2017. Courtesy of the artist

Xiaojing Yan : In Suspended Silence

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Richmond Art Gallery presents the first West Coast solo exhibition of Chinese-Canadian artist Xiaojing Yan. Within this immersive exhibition, Yan explores natural and cultural realms deeply grounded in Daoist philosophies, myths and folklore. Presenting works that draw from traditional Chinese art, iconography and symbolism, In Suspended Silence highlights Yan’s poetic explorations into spirituality and self-transformation.

Through her career, the Ontario-based artist has considered the experience of existing within and across two languages and cultures. Yan elaborates: “In my art, every idea travels through the intricate passageway of how I think in Chinese but speak in English. Choosing the right material for my work is like choosing the right word in my vocabulary.”

Inspired by the landscapes depicted in traditional shan shui Chinese painting, Yan’s Mountain of Pines is an installation of hanging walls of silk organza pierced with thousands of pine needles to create a panorama of distant mountains rising in the mist. Considered sacred places, mountains provided entry to the domain of divinities, enlightenment, longevity, virtue, and solitude.

Within this landscape are eight life-size busts of the artist as a young girl, each sprouting curious lingzhi mushrooms. The group of eight are called Lingzhi Girls, and recall the Eight Immortals in Daoist mythology. Evoking both human and mushroom forms, the figures are caught in transition between figure and landscape.