Fragmented Selection – Shen Hao Solo Exhibition
When our memories lose their color, and the images of days passed no longer recall themselves to mind, and the all the buildings lose their original functions. Then the continuity of time and spirit collide, emerging as an eternal flash event! September 20, 2014, the Asia Art Center will host the Shen Hao Solo Exhibition “Fragmented Selection”, and all of these questions may be answered in the engaged encounter with the artist Shen Hao’s works.
“Painting the essence of reality” is a theme which remains unchanged throughout Shen Hao’s works, and this aphorism arises from Shen Hao’s thought that “every humble thing has hidden a myriad of real marvel within”. Amongst the common things of our everyday life, or the ruins of buildings, are revealed through his unique craftsmanship and long tempered art, to emerge as narrative themes through his brush, which help observes explain part of their lost history, or provide an interpretation for contemporary social phenomena.
In his works, we see a congealed set of light and shadow, empirically attesting to the history of social change, and while he attempts to reveal painting as mere expressive verbs in action, even as this is a trajectory without a fixed destination, or even when viewed as a futile failure, he still manages to express the spirit of the “foolish old man” seeking to create a uniquely failed shape, while also providing the observer with a new path to understanding and considering life, thus creating the ubiquitous appearance of Shen Hao’s works.
The theme of Shen Hao’s works is formed from the combination of his “individual experience” and “social relevance”. By refining the reality of things through generalization, selection and collage, he has created his own discourse space, creating “an individual’s theater”. Whether it is his early work “Court of the Crimson King” with its playful popular culture, or “Whitewater” expressing the unique aspects of the era of the planned economy, or “Self-portrait on a box” hinting at the 1980s experiments with educational reform, or his recent work “Fragmented Selection” discussing the 1950s and the Soviet style architecture, all arise from the artist’s individual life experiences, reality and sparks of wisdom, as matter and reality expand forward from a former moment in thought, and after matter dies in real life, it takes on a whole new life in man’s thoughts! This is an anxious confrontation, which is not outward, but solely represents an inward challenge!
In Shen Hao’s new works the tendency is to borrow from media coverage to create an individualized mosaic narrative and thus to create a new order of painting, which appears to have its own internal structure. “Fragmented Selection” describes a bloodstone found standing in a birch forest, which looks like it is so out of place with the appurtenant environment. The face of the bloodstones describes the Soviet-era architecture, where Shen Hao’s hometown had a “Science and Technology Management Committee”, which has now become abandoned, but it continues to stubbornly remain. The camera and old bricks combine to create a satellite image, with the entire image formed as a mosaic effort to parodies the contemporary art of “copycatting”. “Mashangshangma” comes from the novel by Li-An Wen, the artist uses the image of a pommel horse to replace and signify a horse, while also using the pommel horse to signify sporting skills. The sporting skills represent the positive aspect of mankind’s desire for constant improvement, while reality often results in sport being subjected to mankind’s corruption or for gambling. So between the pommel horses there is the shape of four window frames appearing like a “slot machine”, with four cherry images signifying a winning result. This reflection of the things around us, and unique mosaic technique and interpretation, is both realistic, and also quite symbolic, giving rise to much room for thought.
Previously someone had described poetry as love at first sight, given the right time, place, and ambience, as well as the right temperature and humidity, to create all the conditions perfect for a meeting of the soul. This can also be used to describe artistic creation. Under the influence of western rock and roll, Shen Hao has found creative inspiration, and music often serves to bring endless fertile ground for sentiment. His work “Shoe-gazing My Bloody Valentine” is named for the end of the 1980s British rock band which played only with the guitar and singing as their band style, which was a truly unique phenomena in British rock. This fierce independence is also seen in Shen Hao’s creative works, such as “Black Velvet”, which mimics Mezzotint woodblock print effects for oil painting, creating his own unique interpretation.
This exhibition is entitled “Fragmented Selection”, hinting at how we obtain knowledge and information through sifting and integrating our thoughts. Historical classic tradition and its collision with contemporary social trends, or the confrontation between mankind’s spirituality and civilization… artists unravel inspiration from these complex webs, and undertake thoughts of transcending time restraints, transmitting an observational mode quite different from the narrative description of words. Behind these images, we can see how the era reflects itself in the shadows of the artist’s themselves, and as people change, seasons change.