20.06.19 - 27.06.19


 Ruilin Yao

B.S. : Where are you from?


R.Y. : I was born in Chengdu, China, Lived in Shanghai until the age of nine. Then moved to San Jose, California. Then back to Shanghai and now lives in New York.



B.S. : Can you describe your work to someone who may not be familiar with it?


R.Y. : My works are a reflection of me at a certain time and place with a certain feeling and mindset. They see as I see. They feel as I feel. They evolve as I evolve. My works are my extended brain with the purest documentation of my thoughts and memories. Then, it should be the reality, yet, I am not in control. My thoughts are the result of my up brings, interactions and allowed intrusions from third parties. This being said, these creations are a direct reflection of my Chinese body with western influence, my western mind with Chinese influence and the modern world I encounter as a “global citizen”.


I like challenging the pre-existing notion of expression by telling stories through different mediums and at times a combination of many mediums. I like spotting those similarities in our world as I make the world my home. I like presenting questions through symbolic materials, movements and visual compositions in hopes of sparking a critical conversation about our social constructs, relationships, freedom, and individuality. I like us to question reality. Is this it? Or are we shaping the reality as we speak?


B.S. : What is your background as an artist?

R.Y. : I studied interactive media arts at NYU. Since then I have exhibited a solo show and a couple group shows in New York.


B.S : What are you going to present on the “FREEDOM” exhibition in BOLD Showroom?


R.Y. : I will be presenting one photo from my “掀起veil“ series. “掀起veil” is a one year long photography documentation of the modern China. These images document my internal transition from east to west: China (Chengdu, Shanghai), and the United States (San Jose, New York). When we think about censorship, we think of government. At a certain point however, the muting becomes self-inflicted. Veiling results out of fear of not adequately contributing to the collective society. Our worlds are shifting in this hyper-moving era (whether we are mobile or static). My nomadic history has instilled feelings of isolation and outsider-mentality; emotions that are often universal, but amplified depending on geographical context. By covering up different parts of my and the subjects’ bodies, I would like to reveal those personal contentions Chinese women carry. The longer these voices are silent, the more permanent concealment becomes. Using Chinese city centers, historical landmarks and third tier cities as backdrops forces these works into dialogue with the environment. These scenes reveal not only my contentions with China’s restricting social conditions, but also express the modern generation I exist in. There is a universal feelings of suppression that Chinese citizens inhibit; but what happens when the embodied law of the land enters spaces where restrictions differ? I was taught to conceal personal experiences that steered away from tradition. History, love, and individuality are unveiled through my use of red fabric. Veiling becomes revealing.


B.S. : What is freedom to you? Would you say that you are a free person?

R.Y. : Freedom is the ability to be the true self. The ability to ascend the ladder and one day reach self actualization.

I am a free person. Currently, I try not to impose any additional rules upon the ones that are imposed on me out of my will. In the US, I feel more free. But society has always created rules for us. But here, I know I can be myself. Therefore I am free.