Born in 1970 and educated at the Beijing Academy of Art in the years just after the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, Yin's oeuvre revolves around a few specific themes: Mao, public spaces and highly self-reflective works that relate to the human condition.
While situated within the context of contemporary Chinese painting, Yin's works directly reference the Western tradition of the 1960's and 1970's, calling to mind the work of Gerhard Richter and Andy Warhol, among others.
Yin's portraits of Mao are powerful images that, unlike the genre of political commentary or kitsch, within which the image of Mao is so often positioned, present an atmosphere of memory and ambiguous reflection. In Portraits of Mao (Lot 660), Mao is presented in a more personal, unofficial way. Notions of strength of age, great spirit and even utopia are expressed and describe what to Yin is a greatly admired hero. Mao's figure is draped in non-representational colors of deep red and blue which reflect the element of dreamlike memory. By virtue of this process of examination and reflection, a connection is created between artist and subject, placing one in relation to the other.
Public spaces that bare iconic imagery have recently become a source of inspiration for Yin's works. His large-scale paintings of Tiananmen Square are symbols of the People's Republic of China. Yin's works of Tiananmen Square are executed in a distinctive style and color composition. In The Square (Lot 661) Yin covers the world's largest public space with snow. The white of the snow, along with the complementing green of the sky and red of the building construct a bold color composition. The red flecks on the vast white space represent the millions of visitors who make a pilgrimage to the site each day. In addition to the remarkable colors, Yin carved concentric circles into the paint around the center of the square. Creating a strong visual image these circles, known to have the same center, are a metaphor for the Chinese people who emerge from the same center.
A part of Yin's earlier works, Mythology (Lot 658) is a series of self-reflective, artistic expression. With thin and hasty brushstrokes he captures a fleeting moment of overwhelming feelings such as fear, sadness and loneliness which are intensified trough the empty white room. The claustrophobic atmosphere manifests itself in the crouched pose of the man whose vulnerable nakedness instantly generates great empathy as well as a variety of questions.
In Snow (Lot 659), Yin integrates the element of nature and more specifically a winter landscape to suggest the ideas of personal victories and defeats, of power or weakness. Using layers of seemingly transparent colors and a combination of pastel hues and light and dark red shades interrupted by firm, black lines, he expresses personal growth, psychological complexity and the fear of an uncertain future.
Yin Zhaoyang's works are a reflection of his artistic versatility as well as personal, emotional and psychological diversity.