Vanguard gallery

Artist|Yi Xin Tong “Shan Shui Reboot:  Re-Envisioning Landscape for a Changing World”

Shan Shui Reboot: 

Re-Envisioning Landscape for a Changing World


Curated by Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres

Location: China Institute Gallery, New York

Dates: 7 Mar. 2024 – 7 Jul. 2024




“Shanshui is forgetting oneself in a larger picture, a skilled escapology into a world of wilderness beyond humans, a seemingly apolitical sphere of Taoist coexistence among infinite forms of beings, a punk spirit of decentralized structuring and letting each other be, an enjoyment of the external world that is almost purely psychological and introspective, a schizophrenic mind of irreconcilable political (dis)beliefs.”


—— Yi Xin Tong



Extinction – In the Air 

Jacquard tapestry

600 x 153 cm|2019-24



Extinction – In the Air (Details)





Extinction is a pair of tapestries that envisions an imagined world soon after the demise of the human species. Related to Tong’s previous video-and-sculpture installation Poems in the Mount Lu Zoo (2015-20), these tapestries delve into the history of decline and transformation of a zoo situated in Tong’s birthplace Mount Lu. As one of the most renowned mountain sites in China, Mount Lu is hailed as a cradle of Chinese religion, landscape painting, and literature. Tong is particularly fascinated by his hometown zoo, which was established in 1953. The place fell into disrepair during the 1990s and was eventually abandoned. Over recent decades, the pavilions that once housed diverse animals gradually were transformed into residential dwellings occupied by migrant workers. From 2015 to 2019, Tong revisited the former zoo annually, meticulously documenting its evolving conditions. He witnessed how nature had reclaimed the property and how squatters had adapted the cage architecture to meet their needs.



Extinction – On the Ground  

Jacquard tapestry

600 x 153 cm|2019-24



Extinction – On the Ground  (Details)




The materials used to compose these tapestries include photographs from Tong’s field trips to the Mount Lu Zoo, video stills, 3D renderings of the animal pavilions, and speculative sketches for hypothetical sculptures and large-scale installations. The ongoing Animalistic Punk series explores how certain animal characteristics can be utilized to change the conventional roles and mental states of people in society. Tong’s tapestries are allegorical collages and crowded representations of condensed ecologies, with a sense of temporal confusion. According to the artist, “composing them is an abstract thinking experiment on the acquisition, classification, extraction, and use of human knowledge.” As the artist’s largest tapestry work to date, Extinction is site-specific for “Shan Shui Reboot” and the inauguration of China Institute’s downstairs multiuse space.















Yi Xin Tong




Yi Xin Tong was born in Lushan in 1988. MFA, Studio Art, New York University, New York, USA (2012-2014); BFA, Visual Art Honors, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada (2008-2012); Geology, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, China (2005-2007). Lives and works in New York.


His recent solo exhibitions include: “Ring over Pond over Tusks”, Candice Madey, New York, USA, 2023;“Petrified Seas”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2022;“Environmental Love Manual”, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2022;“Environnment, Mon Amour”, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China, 2022;“World River Atlas”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2020;“The Attraction Show – Origin of Ripples”, Snarte Space, Nanchang, China, 2019;“Going Outside”, curated by Betti-Sue Hertz, NanHai Art, Millbrae, USA, 2018;


He also attended the following group exhibitions: “Vanguard Onwards”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2024; “Motion is Action – 35 Years of Chinese Media Art”, By Art Matters Museum, Hangzhou, China, 2023;“NADA Miami”, Candice Madey, Miami, USA, 2023;“Art Within Reach”, APSMUSEUM, Shanghai, China, 2023;“At Sunrise and Sunset”, Tides Rise and Fall, curated by Boyan Li, Qi Mu Space, Beijing, China, 2023;“White Holes”, curated by Yang Zi, 798CUBE, Beijing, China, 2023;“Up in the Air”, curated by Lu Mingjun, Spurs Gallery, Beijing, China, 2023;“Niбn Niбn: The Power and Agency of Animal Forms”, curated by Zi Yang, Deji Art Museum, Nanjing, China, 2023;“Map of Dusk, Afternoon Projects”, Jinjiang Hotel, Shanghai, China, 2023;“Layered Surface”, Vanguard Gallery, Shanghai, China, 2023;