Interview with SunYinXiaowen

Born in JiNan City, ShanDong, China in 1990, SunYinXiaowen has grown up all over the world – living in Germany, China and the UK. Having spent time at the University of the Arts London, SunYinXiaowen is now based in London and is due to take part in the Shoreditch Fashion Show on 12 October. Following the success of the first Shoreditch Fashion Show in April, Offbeat will again be offering guests a dynamic, creatively fuelled evening showcasing the best emerging UK fashion designers and artists, musicians and DJ’s as well as mouth-watering street food from the UK’s top street food vendors. Aesthetica speaks to SunYinXiaowen about the show and artistic production.

A: Why did you want to get involved in The Shoreditch Fashion Show?
SYX: It is a great opportunity for me to exhibit my work in the fashion show. There is a lot in common between the theme of Shoreditch Fashion Show and my work. I consider this as a chance to achieve a combination of a public space and my work, and this is what I have been aiming to do.

The combined results of different art fields are always unpredictable. I think this exhibition could be an experiment, or rather a challenge for me. I consider art as an entire space, where my work becomes a part of the environment, where viewers will have more possibilities of understanding it, and I think it is a part of the communication.

A: You work across various media- why is that?
SYX: After Marcel Duchamp, the ready-made arts gradually become the mainstream of the art world. Using different materials is merely a form of expression so that there are no limits for me in terms of materials. Of course, I cannot be proficient in using all the materials and media, such as the circuit connection and creation of software, so I need a team to help me to solve these technical issues.

In my opinion, as an artist, it might not be necessary to be familiar with every material, but the understanding of the different materials is really important. This means you should understand why you choose a specific material and what is the meaning that the material will represent in your work.

I always explore new materials and experiment with them. Although I am not sure if I can use these materials in my current work, it will bring me plenty of possibilities for my future work.

A: You have lived in a few countries, has that affected your practice at all?
SYX: I lived in Germany when I was young; I grew up in a multi-cultural environment. I have not spent very long in any city, I do not have a sense of “home”, and thus there is almost no culture bond for me, and therefore my future career in the art field will not be limited. If I say that my views were widened when I was in Germany, what I have learnt in China is the basic knowledge of fine arts; I have been trained to master the sense of space, colour and shape. My journey in the UK is a new start for me.

A: If you could collaborate with anyone working in any creative field, who would it be?
SYX: I think architecture itself is a great installation, since it relates to the extent, timeliness and association between ordinary people and those born with the ability to design and build buildings. I have not studied architecture, however I am going to cooperate with others in that field.

A: Who has inspired you?
SYX: At an early stage I focused on the works of Dali. The space he created in his work inspired me a great deal, for example, the work My Wife Nude Contemplating Her Own Flesh Becoming Stairs, Three Vertebrae of a Column, Sky and Architecture, 1945. Antony Gormley’s works always present the relationships between humans and space. He created a space which is full of light and mist in his work Blind Light in 2007, the concept of his work is turning audience to the one being watched, so that the viewer becomes the viewed. His work can be described as a moving sculpture.

The works of Dan Flavin and Olafur Eliasson have directly influenced me. In Flavin’s work, artificial light was treated as a material substance. He broke through the traditional view of light used in art, and gave it allegorical meaning. Eliasson uses earthly elements and artificial light techniques to build minimal environments often inspired by natural phenomena.

A: What do you have planned for the future?
SYX: I will keep preparing to exhibit my work, and will explore the possibility of pieces being presented in new areas that I am interested in. I will travel to different countries to experience different cultures. This is also an important part of my plan. Many people have asked if I will come back to China after I finish my studies, but it is not the place that is important. If necessary, depending on of the nature of my work, I will be working in several countries.

For more information on SunYinXiaowen visit The Shoreditch Fashion Show opens 12 October for more details visit

1. Image courtesy of SunYinXiaowen and Shoreditch Fashion Show.