Yin Zhaoyang's paintings are driven by his investigation into collective and historical memory. He returns again and again to the most recognizable icons of communist China - Tiananmen Square and in particular, Mao Zedong - to explore their continued influence on contemporary consciousness. In Change (Lot 1317), Yin uses the notion of Mao's idealized political portraits at different stages of life to remind the viewer just how the fate of a nation was embodied in the date and life of its leader. It is an ambiguous reflection on memory that explores the notions of strength of age, great spirit and utopia embodied by the legendary figure, while also describing the imminent fragility of life and the uncertainty of fate at the leader's demise, portrayed in a dreamlike atmosphere of varying brightness and obscurity.
Tiananmen Square (Lot 1315) is transformed into a source of light on a deliberately constructed, spectacular stage that hordes of anonymous figures gravitate towards under a luminous and symbolic red glow. Yin's prolonged meditation on the subject displays his understanding of the eerie power of political imagery, its allure and seductive ability to mobilize on a grand scale, while his subtle shifts in light and colour suggest its latent dangers. Unlike preceding generations of Chinese painters, these subjects are not an opportunity for irony or a display of dark humor about China's present circumstances, but a medium through which he explores contemporary identity.
As a thematic continuation of his earlier series of self-reflective works such as the Youth Has Gone Away and Paradise Lost, The King (Lot 1316) is derived from his highly emotionally-charged and mysterious Myth series. Fully indulging in the psychological deterioration and internal conflict within spirit and self, The King depicts an invented story of a person and an inexplicable stone confined in an ambiguous battleground of cold blue, and brings out the ambition, fragility and despair of our psychological realities. Yin not only unites modernity and self in his images that represent the human condition and spiritual purgatory, but also continues to investigate individual and collective memory and reality in contemporary China as a backbone to his diverse artworks.