SHEN CHENApr 22 - May 27, 2017
Artist: Shen Chen
Opening: April 22nd, 2017 (Saturday), 15:00 - 18:00
Exhibition Period: April 22nd, 2017 - May 27th, 2017 (Tuesday - Saturday 10:30 - 17:30)
Ginkgo Space is pleased to announce that the artist Shen Chen’s debut solo exhibition of
the same name, “Shen Chen”, will open at Ginkgo Space on April 22nd, 2017.
The opening reception takes place from 15:00 - 18:00 on the 22nd of April, in the
presence of the artist.
Graduating in 1982 from Shanghai Theatre Academy, Shen Chen was active amongst
Beijing's avant-garde artistic community, and was considered one of the pioneers of
conceptual art and experimental water-ink paintings in the early 1980s.
At the end of the 1980s, Shen pursued studies at New York Studio School and Boston
University, and subsequently settled in New York.
This exhibition features the artist’s recent acrylic on canvas works, including grey
(or single-colour) and complex colour works. Grey-coloured works build upon and transcend
his early water-ink paintings, experimenting physically and spiritually with the notion
of “coloured ink”. The complex colour, meanwhile, can be understood as
an elaboration of “grey”, as it refers to deconstructed elementary shades of “grey”,
For his artistic production, Shen Chen often lays the canvas on the floor, and uses a
flat-head shading brush - a method and technique inherited from his early years of
water-ink practices. His artworks are composed of multi-layered strokes and paints:
his large scale works can accumulate up to hundreds of layers. The colour tone of his artworks, meanwhile, is extremely subtly variated, with a minimalistic approach to the use and composition of colour - in most of his works, only two colours can be seen. Shen Chen’s work manifests the continuity of time, and the repetition of strokes throughout the creative process - which,
in Shen Chen’s eyes, equates with the final product. This repetition also gives birth to
some highly acute perceptions. Each stroke requires a long time to dry before the next one can
be painted: thus a painting usually takes a considerably long time to be finished,
sometimes over two months. Meanwhile, the lightness of each layer minimises the
possibility of corrections. The unique technique, patience and perseverance,
contemplation and rationality, as well as Zen-like repetitive labour, are precisely
a part of Chen's own life. Two featured pieces called “graphic water-ink” by the artist,
can be viewed as an archetype of his artistic method.
The contradictions and uncertainties between sense and sensibility can bring viewers
both a touch of boredom, and a hint of joy. Shen’s mastery of the “stage”
of canvas directs how the colour tones act upon each other, connecting the extensive
aesthetics of colour-field painting and the spiritual motif of eternity.
The artist’s strokes navigate layers of paint, balancing the exquisite techniques
and subtle emotions, as if shedding a peaceful light. This sense of light originates
from the layering of both strokes and colours, yet it endows the canvas with
depth and the unbounded space of imagination. The repetition of strokes and the long
creation process, meanwhile, progresses and evolves into unusual visual forms - to
approach the minimal via the maximal, and to embody the energy from the void.
While putting emphasis on the conceptualism of painting, Shen Chen also advocates a
rational spirit. The act of painting counteracts, even erases the notion of painting
itself. In endless repetition, the image is constantly covered, put into a negative state,
until the “painting” in its original sense diminishes. What remains on the canvas is
nothing but the duration of time, and traces of the covering process.
In 1980s, Shen Chen’s abstract water-ink paintings were exhibited at Grand Palais
(Paris), Rome University of Fine Arts(Rome), National Art Museum of China(Beijing), Shanghai Art Museum(Shanghai), and other art venues; his acrylic works created in the 1990s, travelled to more places around the world, including: Crystal Foundation(New York), Queens Museum (New York), The Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation(New York), Museum of Chinese in America(New York), Kunstmuseum Bochum(Bochum), Kunsthalle Recklinghausen(Recklinghausen), Singer Laren Museum(Laren), Today Art Museum(Beijing) and so on; His work has also been collected by many art museums and foundations all around the world.
The exhibition runs through till the 27th of May, 2017. For further information, please contact email@example.com