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Song Dong & Yin Xiuzhen in "Beijing"

Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, two Beijing natives, reflect on three decades of deeply personal artmaking and the shared experience of living in Beijing through its unprecedented transformation. This film follows the pair as they install the latest iteration of their collaborative project, The Way of the Chopsticks. In their sculptures and installations, both artists work with readily accessible materials, like clothing, roofing tiles, window frames, and household objects, using art to come to terms with their personal grief, memories, and anxiety about the future. Song takes viewers on a tour of an old hutong (a traditional Beijing residential community composed of buildings, courtyards, and alleyways), pointing out the architectural details that he uses in his sculptures and installations. Meanwhile, Yin reflects on the use of clothing in her work. At the opening of their Chopsticks exhibition, Yin and Song’s teenage daughter and old friends join them for a family-style dinner, a moment symbolic of two artists whose careers have been dedicated to exploring the emotional complexities of their lives and communities. “I don’t think art is about making objects. It’s more about the process,” says Yin. “It’s an attitude toward life.”

More information and credits


Executive Producer: Tina Kukielski. Series Producer: Nick Ravich. Directors: Bryan Chang and Vicky Du. Producer: Vicky Du. Editor: Bryan Chang. Director of Photography: Bryan Chang.

Production Services: Meerkat Media. Assistant Curator: Danielle Brock. Field Producers: Yifan Wen and Qianying Zhao. Design & Animation: Momentist, Inc. Composer: Joel Pickard. Advising Producer: Ian Forster: Additional Art21 Staff: Lauren Barnett, Lolita Fierro, Joe Fusaro, Meghan Garven, Jonathan Munar, and Emma Nordin. Narration: Okema T. Moore.

Additional Photography: Robert Cauble, Vicky Du, Andrew Kemp, Christoph Lerch, Riani Singgih, Yifan Wen, and Yang Bo. Assistant Camera: Ogey Samhadi, Charlie Stoddart, and Yifan Wen. Location Sound: Rayell Abad, Long Lv, Sean Millar, Shi Qian, and Zhou Yang.

Digital Intermediate: Cut + Measure. Post-Production Producer: Alex Laviola. Colorist: Jerome Thélia. Post-Production Sound Services: Konsonant Post. Re-Recording Mixer & Sound Editor: Gisela Fullà-Silvestre. Online & Conform: David Gauff. Additional Animation: Andy Cahill. Assistant Editors: Jasmine Canon, Jonah Greenstein, Tianyao Ma, and Mengchen Zhang. Translation: Xiaoyu Song, Yixin Tong, and Mengchen Zhang. Descriptive Video Information: Captionmax.

Artwork Courtesy: Guan Xiao, Liu Xiaodong, Song Dong, Xu Bing, Yin Xiuzhen, Chambers Fine Art, Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Lisson Gallery, and Pace Gallery. Archival Materials: Dabarti CGI, HEC Media, Pond 5, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gord Webster, Yang Bo, Hung-i Yao, and Yitiao. Additional Music: APM Music.

Public Relations: Cultural Counsel. Station Relations: De Shields Associates, Inc. Legal Counsel: Barbara T. Hoffman, Esq. Interns: Kristie Chua, Shane Daly, Malique Daniels, Grace Doyle , Eda Li, Daniela Mayer, Jason Mendoza, Nikhil Oza, Anika Rahman, Ana Sanz, Sara Schwartz, Victoria Xu, and Sadie Yanckello.

Special Thanks: The Art21 Board of Trustees, Asia Art Archive in America, Marco Betelli, Emma Bright, CAFA Art Museum, Xinglu Chen, Mengna Da, Atika Dewi, Peter Doroshenko, Alejandro Flores, Robie Flores, Melissa Saenz Gordon, Nina Hidayat, Esther Knuth, Alessandra Lacorazza, Jia Li, Li Liang, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Christophe Mao, Museum MACAN, Qu Shanpu, Tom Schmerber, Chloe Shi, Nicolas Smirnoff, Song Errui, Jeffrey Sterrenberg, Tianyi Sun, Today Art Museum, Paula Tsai, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Venice Biennale, Andrea Vesentini, Wang Zhongyao, Xiaoyu Weng, Wu Hung, Wu Yue, Xia Wenbin, Jane Xiao, and Yi Zhou.

Major underwriting for Season 10 of Art in the Twenty-First Century is provided by PBS, National Endowment for the Arts, Lambent Foundation, The Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Toby Devan Lewis, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Henri Lambert, Nion McEvoy & Leslie Berriman, and Sakana Foundation.

Series Creators: Susan Dowling and Susan Sollins.

©2020 Art21, Inc.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Song Dong

Song Dong was born in 1966 in Beijing, China. Working with humble, readily accessible materials, such as household objects, wooden window and door frames, and even food, Song Dong creates sculptures, installations, videos, and performance works that explore personal and collective memory, impermanence, and the transience of human endeavor.

Yin Xiuzhen

Yin Xiuzhen was born in 1963 in Beijing, China. Working in site-specific installation and sculpture, Yin uses second-hand or recycled items like clothing and domestic objects to create works that preserve personal memories in a rapidly globalizing and homogenizing world.

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Amid Beijing’s dizzying economic, urban, and cultural transformation, five artists respond to the region’s relentless evolution with urgency and ambition, all the while contending with many centuries of Chinese cultural traditions.

Season 10 Educators' Guide

Educators’ Guides provide information about selected artists and themes, questions for classroom discussions, and hands-on activities that provide students with a fundamental understanding of creative and critical thinking processes.