Eli Klein Fine Art is pleased to announce its second solo-exhibition for the Chinese-Australian artist, Shen Shaomin, I Touched the Voice of God. The exhibition expresses Shen Shaomin’s deep concerns for the future of our planet. I Sleep on Top of Myself and I Want to Know What Infinity Is are works that reveal the artist’s outlook through hyperrealistic sculptures that illustrate the potential and metaphorical consequences of a world which is over-developed and despoiled. The work from which the exhibition derives its name, I Touched the Voice of God is made from broken sections of China’s second manned rocket into space. Utilizing braille, the sculptures comment on the human inability to truly comprehend the universe.
I Sleep on Top of Myself is a series of hairless, motorized, lifelike sculptures of animals which portend a future where the earth is severely depleted of natural resources—so much so that animals begin to loose their fur. Trapped in deep sleep, these breathing creatures—a cat, a dog, a bunny, and two geese—are forced to sleep on the remnants of their fur and feathers in order to survive. As a metaphor, this quietly troubling piece asks if we humans will be forced to survive on the remnants of our past once we have exhausted all of our natural resources.
Through a similar methodology, I Want to Know What Infinity Is questions the urge to relentlessly develop and expand our economies at all costs. Similar to the way we strive for development, the old, naked, breathing hyperrealistic sculpture of a woman relentlessly strives for a perfect tan. In Shen Shaomin’s eyes, the consequences of our constant need for development will change the face of our planet, just as the undying urge for beauty transformed this old woman’s body.
The series titled, I Touched the Voice of God encapsulates both of the statements made in I Sleep on Top of Myself and I Want to Know What Infinity Is, but goes one step further to question human intelligence itself. Appropriated from the ejected fuel tank of China’s second manned rocket into space, Shenzhou VI, the material used in this series of work is embossed with English braille. Standing in front of these pieces, our vision blinds us from understanding what is written on each sculpture. One must, in fact, be blind in order to read the words within these mysterious objects. As symbols of our greater universe, the artist’s choice to cover these rocket ship parts with a language most English speakers are illiterate in, reveals that the artist believes our typical, normal, and assumed modes of perception render us blind and unable to develop a true understanding of the universe.
Shen Shaomin was born in Heilongjiang Province, China in 1956. He lives and works in Sydney, Australia and Beijing, China. His work has been exhibited in museum shows around the world, including recent exhibitions “Hot Pot: A Taste of Ceontemporary Chinese Art,” Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (2013); “Go Figure: Contemporary Chinese Portraiture,” Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation (2012); “The Floating Eye,” The 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012); “The Unseen,” The 4th Guangzhou Triennial (2012); ”ARSENALE 2012,” The First Kiev International Biennale of Contemporary Art (2012); "Flora and Fauna: MAD about Nature," Museum of Arts and Design (2011); “The Day After Tomorrow,” 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (2011); "The Beauty and the Distance," 17th Sydney Biennale (2010).
I Touched the Voice of God will be on view at Eli Klein Fine Art from April 26th to June 2nd, 2013. The artist will be present for the opening reception on Friday, April 26th from 6-8pm.