Guan Yinlin Solo Exhibition —— Nothing that is not 'that' Nothing that is not 'this'

22 May - 20 June 2021



Text / Guan Yinlin


Everything begins with "uncertainty".


Since Plato's time, "beauty" has been a concept born of uncertainty. But beauty and its uncertainty are no longer foreign to us today. Through the camera, I bring to life the dynamic relationship between man and nature, and that between self and others. At the same time, I visualise the abstract, namely the changing ‘I'm the process of self-exploration, in an attempt to perceive and represent uncertainty as an essence.


The image series "Dream" is an important exploration for me to represent myself-experience and reconstruct the relationship between me and the world. Dreams carry all kinds of strange contents and scenes that are the cutting, collaging and reorganising ofmy past memories. By stimulating the creation of dream content through the technique of random double exposure on film, the extremely fluid and psychedelic lens language of the film pushes the boundary between reality and imagination traditionally perceived. At the same time, dreams become an important medium for me to ask questions and rethink my perception of identity. In dreams, our perception of the identity of the Other is at once clear and ambiguous. We clearly perceive the separation and opposition between the Other and the existence of the self-subject, yet we can only vaguely catch a blurred vision of the concrete face of the Other in our consciousness.
What are the characteristics or qualities through which the human being perceives himself and others? The series, “Self-portrait”, is a record and representation of the specific process of perception of self-identity. Based on the idea that individual identity cannot be confirmed by the self alone, I took pictures of myself in the nude with the camera and invited my friends to recreate them. In this process, by introducing the perspectives of others, I not only exist as the ‘I’ of the subject of consciousness, but also become the object in others’ gaze or "the other". These fragmented interpretations are collected and reorganised, and together they form the identity of the image of Guan Yinlin in the social network. In fact, the concern for the existence of 'man' in society and the identity of different groups is also evident in other series of works. I am no stranger to the concept of "rationality", which I have access to from theory to praxis. In my work, rationality for me is rather the order in chaos, and I must find the answer to the question by stripping off the cocoon, dissecting and deconstructing information and arguments layer by layer, so there are two trilogies of “Chaos and Rationality”. On the one hand, they are a natural order that looks mixed; on the other hand, it is a perfect artificial paradigm. All perfect artificial paradigms are abstracted from the mixed natural order.
“The Fruit” series explores the identity crisis that individuals may face in contemporary life from a microscopic perspective. Throughout the series, the symbols of dismembered flesh and sharp blades are used as metaphors for the sexual harassment and assault that people face in the real world, and the traumatic marks that such incidents can leave on the physical and psychological levels of their victims. 
In contrast, “Contemporary Archaeology Through the Lens” is based on the macrocosm and uses images of the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands to evoke the concepts of 'ancient', 'primitive' and 'magnificent' in human consciousness. The series uses images of the Scottish Highlands to evoke the perception and awe of the concepts of 'ancient', 'primitive' and 'magnificent' in human consciousness and to record the patterns of settlement and activity within them. By comparing and observing contemporary and ancient activities in the same environment, I seek to explore the existence of humans as a group identity in nature from the vantage point of history, and the derivation and transformation of that identity in the long flow of years.
Text / Xiao Ruiyun
Guan Yinlin's works focus on phenomenal perception and point to an intellectual discussion beyond the surface. If Guan's usual practice is theoretical writing through the medium of words, in this exhibition, he attempts to transform the abstract language of philosophy into the figurative language of vision, using images as a medium to create a philosophical context. The whole exhibition site may also seem to be a mixed composition of images, which requires care and patience to understand the meaningful connections within. The characteristic of this exhibition is to find order and answers amidst this chaos, in an effort to evoke the audience to imagine and reflect more on the nature of relationships.
 About the Artist 
Guan Yinlin received his Ph.D. in Comparative philosophy between ancient Greek and classical Chinese philosophies at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Philosophy, Tsinghua University. His work on photography focuses on the rights of women and minority groups, the relationship between social change and the individual, and self-exploration.