This side up: FRAGILE
curated by Giulia Abate
17 oct 2019 – 30 nov 2018
“Classical artworks are insurmountable and they constitute art history. I, as an artist, respect classical artworks but at the same time, I wonder whether they still do play a guiding role for contemporary art.” Shen Shaomin
Solo exhibition dedicated to the artist Shen Shaomin (1956, Heilongjiang province, China).
The gallery exhibit 21 works, recently produced, taken from the series Handle with Care, in which Shen Shaomin reproduces the masterpieces of modern and contemporary art history covering them with a painted packaging of bubble wrap and scotch. The installation in the gallery simulate an exhibition in the phase of assembly or dismantling, with artworks ready to be shipped to another destination, or on the contrary, that have just arrived.
The show is accompanied by a trilingual catalogue published by Carlo Cambi Editore which includes a previously unpublished interview of the curator to the artist.
The idea behind the origin of the Handle with Care series, comes from a visit Shen Shaomin to a museum warehouse. At the sight of carefully packaged art masterpieces, the artist perceived the sense of authority and their power of cultural representation. Hence, the feeling of venerability towards these works, considered like the “classic” masterpiece of Western art history. The trompe l’oeil technique that imitates the protective material of the bubble wrap, tends to isolate and protect those works of art playing a leading role in the collective imagination of modern and contemporary art.
Among the works on display, one notices a particular reference to the great artist and major exponent of American Pop Art, Andy Warhol, who used to create his works following an industrial process. “Andy Warhol – says Shen Shaomin – is one of my favorite artists whose works are constant replication. I replicate his works in his way of replicating works. That’s a consumption of his consumerism.”
His artistic career ranges from the creation of sculptures of various kinds and sizes, such as works made of animal bones, which recall the relationship between man, desire and artificiality. There is a constant strong criticism on progress and the effects that it has on the world in all of his artistic production. Through his resin sculptures of sleeping humans and animals, the artist leads the viewer to reflect on the real and the imaginary, whilst in the series Handle with Care MoMA, Shaomin tends to subvert the classical rules of figurative perception.
Shen Shaomin has had several solo exhibitions and has been included in many group exhibitions. Among his recent solo exhibitions: Keep Upright (2017), Klein Sun Gallery, New York, There is no problem, Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou (China). Among his group shows: Capital@Art.International (2018), Ost-Stern, Frankfurt, Almost There (2017), Jorge B. Vargas Museum, UP Diliman, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines.
Shen Shaomin has also taken part in many art fairs, among the most recent: Art Basel, Hong Kong: Encounters (2017), Busan Biennale, Busan, South Korea (2017 and 2015 editions) Xinjiang Biennale, Urumqi, China (2014).
In 2012 Shen Shaomin opened his Beijing studio to young Australian artists with the aim of promoting a better relationship of cultural and artistic exchange between China and Australia. Shen Shaomin lives and works between Sydney and Beijing.
Piazza Borghese, 1/A