Short Biography

Yingmei Duan was born in 27.10.1969 in Daqing in China. She is currently based in Braunschweig, Germany.

Yingmei Duan is part of the Chinese avant-garde, working creatively for many years living in the legendary art district of Beijing’s East Village. In 1995 she participated in the performance “To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain” which is considered to be one of the classics of Chinese contemporary art. Being based in the East Village between 1993-1995 prompted her curiosity, which led to her interest in performance art and has had a great impact on her later art career. The final turning point came when she began to study in Germany at The Braunschweig University of Art (HBK) in 2000, where she got to meet the performance artist Marina Abramović. Since that time, Yingmei Duan has dedicated herself to performance art as her artistic expression. There, she also studied and worked with the filmmaker Birgit Hein and action artist Christoph Schlingensief, participating in several of his large-scale video performance installations.

Yingmei Duan is a curious observer who asks questions about all facets of life in order to continuously learn and develop. For the past twenty four years she has concentrated her energy and creativity on making performance art and researching the medium. Much of Yingmei’s performance art explores human instincts such as fear and desires. Various different themes inspire Yingmei and are reflected in her work, including examining society and questioning its conventions and human behaviour.

Within her performances she crosses mediums and often incorporates sound, video and installation. She often spontaneously develops performances as situational experiments. On the other hand she can also plan her performances with intense attention being paid to the last detail.

Besides her solo projects Yingmei loves to work with people from different cultures, ages and areas of life and has realised over one hundred collaborative performance projects. Her artworks, frequently in progress, can stretch over long periods of time.

Yingmei Duan has developed her own performance system. She describes these categories as: “Solo Performance”, “Performance Installation”, “Changing Exhibitions“, “Daily Live Art Performance” (DLAP), “Equal Collaborative Performance” (ECP), “Object Interactive Performance“ (OIP), “Object & Video Interactive Performance“(OVIP) and Sound & Music Performance.

Improvisational singing, sound, language and collaboration with different musicians are often part of her live performances and performance installations. In 2018, Yingmei Duan’s Music album “Forty-Eight Years Ago, the Road an Ocean“ (Composed by Xiaohan Han) was published in China. It is an extension of her performance art.

Yingmei Duan has made her name in numerous national and international exhibitions through her performance art, festivals, residencies, lectures and workshops through her remarkable and emotional performance art. Her work has been shown in, amongst other places the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam (2005), La Biennale di Venezia in Italy (2007), Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Germany (2009), Guangzhou Live in China (2010), Lilith Performance Studio in Sweden (2011), Hayward Gallery in London (2012), Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea in Wales (2013), He Xiangning Art Museum in China (2014), The 19th Biennale of Sydney in Australia (2014), Solyanka State Gallery in Moscow (2015), Wiener Festwoche in Austria (2016), Capsule Shanghai in China (2017), M Plus Museum Hong Kong in China (2018), Dimensions Art Center in Chongqing, China (2019), Jupiter Museum of Art in Shenzhen, China (2020) and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow, Russia (2021-2022).