Yixuan Pan: Wind Fellow 2021

Driven by a limitless sense of curiosity, Pan creates work that is uninhibited by tradition, medium, or the supposed boundary between artist and viewer.

Yixuan Pan, one of our Wind Fellow recipients, is an artist whose kaleidoscopic practice spans across video, performance, installation, poetry, conducting, and more. As a native Mandarin speaker now based in the States, Pan is interested in exploring the limitations and structural substrates of language, doing so in unexpected ways that strike at the heart of fundamental human questions.

Kevin Sun: What made you decide to get into art?

Yixuan Pan: I think I am just very curious about so many things and people I don’t know! Maybe being an artist gives me the perfect excuse to study them, get to know them and create connections.

K.S.: Your work often includes the participation of others, such as visitors in An Orchestra at Elsewhere and professional choir singers in How I Wonder What You Are. What do you feel that outside contributors bring to your creative process?

Y.P.: I am very grateful for the trust that people offer in my projects. I don’t want to make a project that is only for people with professional art training. Instead, I believe art should live in a real world, the one I live in with other people. Art is not a vacuum that creates this separate idea of “insiders” and “outsiders”. I find it very humbling when people with different skill sets and backgrounds (choir singer, piano tuner, people who look through their windows in their house…) are willing to work with me. 

I just finished this guided walking tour project for a public art class at Arcadia University. Through this project, my students and I were able to research the history of Glenside, PA, study an ancient creek that runs underneath the landscape, discuss the sugar trade history behind a celebrated castle, as well as interview community members like a firefighter, cafe shop owner, a descendant of Chief Tamanend, and a little 4-year-old who just knows so much about the playground… We had many fruitful conversations, and built relationships with buildings and people we didn’t know, or [that] we thought we knew—this is what I find most joyful when making a project. 

Excerpt:  How I Wonder What You Are, an anti-choir practice, 2017

K.S.: You’ve described your approach to art as “anti-disciplinary.” Could you elaborate on what you mean by that?

An Orchestra at Elsewhere, 2019, live performance at Elsewhere museum

Y.P.: Instead of being driven by medium (glass, ceramics, paper…) or form (drawing, sculpture, performance), my art making process is question motivated. Often it originates from a simple curiosity, and is followed by playful investigations. Different from interdisciplinary processes, the anti-disciplinary approach centers on the questions rather than the mediums or forms. I believe it challenges the discipline-driving habits under Western hegemony, and rethinks the departmentalized academic framework. By decolonizing the structure of knowledge, it creates vocabulary for a common language. 

K.S.: Your practice ranges across a variety of media, including video, performance, sculpture, poetry, and more. When you’re thinking about a new project, how do you decide on which medium best suits the concept you want to explore?

Y.P.: I think the truth is, with the context shift, my form can change too, and sometimes I try them all! For instance, How to Clean A Window started as an investigation on the hidden connection between glass and language, so I went to Finland, did my research and wrote an essay. Then it became a performance piece where I cleaned a window in a snowy forest. Next, during an artist residency, I invited the locals to join my window cleaning routine, and I made it into a two-channel video. When Covid-19 hit, face shields, acrylic dividers, webcams…more and more things became windows. So, I did performative workshops with people from all over the world over Zoom to reflect this shared traumatic experience. Now, with the world slowly opening up, I wonder what the window is going to become, and what I can do with it next!

K.S.: Your work explores the theme of miscommunication and the limitations of translation. How do you approach thinking about interpretation, or possible misinterpretation, of your own work?

Y.P.: My work needs the audience to be complete, because essentially, it’s a conversation. Other people’s interpretation enriches my own experience of the work I made. When I put posters up on Fishers Island, NY and invited people on the island to participate, I got so many responses. When I showed up with my camera and speaker, many of them were shocked: it turns out that they thought I was going to clean the windows for them! This assumption of labor distribution was super interesting to me. In a way, I built relationships with people over awkward moments like this. 

How to clean a Window on Fisher Island, Video stills 2, 2018

To learn more about Yixuan Pan as well as view her work and her upcoming events, please visit her InLiquid Artist’s page and her website.

Michael Biello
Michael Biello
Composing in series, and often series within series, all of my projects from the past couple of decades have dealt with social issues, and more recently have embraced text as both content and image:

*  states of mind as one-word declarations (SO I WAS, LIKE....)

* the interior lives of artists (DESIDERATUM)

* odd courting and mating habits in the animal kingdom that sometimes echo our own (RE:PRODUCTION – Portraits)
* the dysfunction of todays politics seen through an historical perspective (WHEEL, DEAL, STEAL, THEN SPIN)

* death – it’s customs, euphemisms, architecture (THE FINAL FRONTIER)

* profiling and identity (The MARK Portraits)

* violence in America (TOKENS, PRECIS, HARBINGERS AND HERALDS, AMERICAN PIE, EIKONS)
E. Sherman Hayman
E. Sherman Hayman

Composing in series, and often series within series, all of my projects from the past couple of decades have dealt with social…

Composing in series, and often series within series, all of my projects from the past couple of decades have dealt with social issues, and more recently have embraced text as both content and image:

*…

Composing in series, and often series within series, all of my projects from the past couple of decades have dealt with social issues, and more recently have embraced text as both content and image:

* states of mind as…

Her acrylic paintings are included in museum and corporate collections such as the Biggs Museum of American Art, Fox Rothschild, and Brandywine Realty Company.
Barbara Straussberg
Barbara Straussberg

Her acrylic paintings are included in museum and corporate collections such as the Biggs Museum of American Art, Fox Rothschild,…

Her acrylic paintings are included in museum and corporate collections such as the Biggs Museum of American Art, Fox Rothschild, and Brandywine Realty Company.…

Her acrylic paintings are included in museum and corporate collections such as the Biggs Museum of American Art, Fox Rothschild, and Brandywine Realty Company.…

June Julian
June Julian
Contemporary Landscape Paintings inspired by the abstract patterns in nature modified by atmospheric color and light. Abstract forms and images are generated through perception and imagination.
Mary Powers Holt
Mary Powers Holt

Contemporary Landscape Paintings inspired by the abstract patterns in nature modified by atmospheric color and light. Abstract…

Contemporary Landscape Paintings inspired by the abstract patterns in nature modified by atmospheric color and light. Abstract forms and images are generated through perception and imagination. …

Contemporary Landscape Paintings inspired by the abstract patterns in nature modified by atmospheric color and light. Abstract forms and images are generated through perception and imagination. …

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