Xiaojing Yan was born in Jiangsu, China, and is currently a Toronto based artist. She received her M.F.A on Sculpture from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA and B.F.A from Nanjing Arts Institution, China. As an artist migrating from China to North America, both her identity and her work pass through the complex filters of different countries, languages, and cultural expectations.
Yan's work has been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally for more than 80 times. Yan has exhibited at The Latcham Gallery, Stouffville; the Red Head Gallery, Toronto; Lonsdale Gallery, Toronto; TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary; Glenhyrst Art Gallery of Brant, Brantford; Artspace, Peterborough; IndexG Gallery, Toronto; Her work was included in the featured project at Art Toronto 2014 and the featured exhibition Beyond Geography at Art Toronto 2012. And has drawn great social attention. In 2017, Varley Art Gallery in Markham, Ontario will present her major solo exhibition, and Suzhou Museum will present her first solo museum exhibition in China. Yan's work has been included in many collections, Cloudscape piece is recently collected by Seneca College at Newnham Campus, Toronto. She was rewarded the 2014 Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the 2013 Mandarin Profile Awards of Fairchild TV. Yan is also a recipient of nearly 30 art grants including Project Grant from the Canadian Council for the Arts(2015, 2013, 2009), Travel Grant from College Art Association, NYC(2012), Toronto Arts Councils, and the Emerging Artist Grant from Ontario Arts Council (2015, 2013, 2011, 2009).
Yan Xiaojing, Moon Gate, Stainless Steel and Dichroic Glass Installation, 2016
The artist got her inspiration from traditional moon gate, a circular opening in classical Chinese gardens that acts both as a passageway and a distinctive Chinese architectural element. These gates imitate the shape of the full moon, so it is called the moon gate. It is an important symbol and sign of traditional Chinese culture and architecture. The work uses dichroic glass as material, which displays two different colors. The glass was invented by the NASA to prevent solar radiation. Later architects and artists found it creates fascinating visual effect and thus it has been used widely in architecture and artwork. The glass is both reflective and transparent, colors vary endlessly and delicately with changing of perspective and light.
In the work, each small glass piece will be connected by steel cable, and there is only one fixed point in the center, so all small glasses will turn around with wind, and light and colors will also change with every slight movement of glasses. These small glass squares will frame the cityscape in the environment and transform it with its own fleeting and changing light and color. Real and unreal, ethereal and concrete come together. The artist uses borrowing-scenes strategy of classical Chinese garden to create scene-within-scene visual and aesthetic effect, and provide viewers with moving images when they gaze at the work, as if they are touring around a space.
Moreover, as artist take the moon gate away from the context of traditional Chinese garden and put it into an urban space where people, movements, activities are busy and constantly change, thus brings a dialogue between the past and the present, the socialized and the reclusive, the practical and the meditative together. It complicates communal space with a spiritual and cultural intervention, or suspension, and creates new public life experience that is rooted in intimate relationship with tradition and contemporary life.