Shen Shaomin 沈少民

Shen Shaomin, I sleep on top of myself, 2011, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. Image courtesy the artist, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, and Osage Gallery, Hong Kong

Profile: Shen Shaomin 沈少民

Over the last twenty years Shen Shaomin has forged an important international career with an emphasis on conceptual experimentation. His practice examines the poetic and philosophical implications of progress, examining the relationship between human instinct and the prejudice associated with cultural knowledge by engaging with ideas relating to death, spirituality, consumerism and history. His work takes a critical approach to human society, dramatising the impact of human evolution and culture and the damage inflicted upon the natural world in the pursuit of human freedom and progress.

Born in Heilongjiang Province in China’s north east, Shen was originally trained as a woodblock printer during the Cultural Revolution. After visiting Australia as a printmaker in 1989, Shen was one of a handful of Australian-Chinese artists who moved to Sydney in the 1990s. He returned to China in 2001, where he produced his acclaimed Unknown Creatures and Experimental Fields series: sculptures of mythical creatures and imaginative specimens made of animal bones.

[Unknown Creatures] ponders upon the fortune of all creatures the Earth bears and rears, which is reflected in his work as a classic-idealistic perfection and a near ruthless visual pursuit as well as the pure persistent humanism of an intellectual. [1]

Shen now lives and works in both Sydney and Beijing. His work has been presented in major international exhibitions including 17th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, 2010 and The UK Biennial of Contemporary Art, Liverpool, 2005. Recent solo exhibitions include The Day After Tomorrow, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney, 2011 and Shen Shaomin: Distortion, Eli Klein Fine Art, New York, 2010.

An immersive installation will be exhibited as part of The Floating Eye, representing a new commission from Shen.

过去二十年,沈少民的艺术生涯建筑在不断的颠覆与实验上,他的创作富有强烈的文化原创精神与以艺术手法表达出一种近乎诗意的哲学辩论,沈少民借鉴自然之象 而 虚构出一个超自然的形象系统,并通过公众的识读和关联性想像,引导出一个艺术家个体的造物行为对社会整体的意义。他的造物经验的要点之一就在於言之有物。 因此,在沈少民拓展的语境下,他一手捏造的那些毫无生命迹象的生物骨架居然承载了一种文化生成的重量。以戏剧性的手法演绎人类在追求进步与自由的同时所造 成的破坏与影响。 

[1] Gu Zhenqing, ‘Barebone Creatures – The Art of Shen Shaomin’, Unusual Scene – Five Chinese Contemporary Artists’ Case Analysis Vol. 2: Report on Creature (Hebei Education Press: China, 2005).

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