Shen Chen III: Untitled / The Works since the 2000sMay 22 - Jul 18, 2020
Exhibition period: May 22, 2020 to July 25, 2020
Ginkgo Space presents Shen Chen’s series of research exhibitions “Shen Chen III: Untitled / The Works since the 2000s”from May 22, 2020 to July 25, 2020. This exhibition makes the artist’s fourth solo presentation at Ginkgo Space. We gladly announce that there will be a VIP and media preview a week (May 16 to May 21) before the exhibition officially opens to the public. During the preview, we will launch a Wechat website featuring the artist’s works, providing diverse pathways including image, text and video for the viewers to engage and connect with the works.
" Shen Chen : I. Calligraphy / Abstract Ink Paintings from the 1980s” and “Shen Chen : II. Diaries / Experimental Acrylic Paintings from the 1990s ” have given the viewers a comprehensive and thorough idea of Shen Chen’s practice during the 1980s when he had been experimenting with the material, the methodology and the concept of his works. In the 1980s, he focused on abstract ink paintings with calligraphic brushworks and lyrical expression; in the 1990s, he searched for minimal expression of the deeper and the more spiritual, taking on water-based acrylic on canvas. Shen Chen’s practice situates between Eastern and Western culture. He explores brushstrokes, materials, lines, structure and order, constructing a rational ground in his works with a Western point of view. He investigates the idea of time, space, overlap and revelation, in all the spiritual aspect of the work with a specifically Eastern sentiment.
This exhibition presents 13 unique works and 8 color studies of Shen Chen’s “Untitled” series from 2004 to 2019. Untitled No. 97-04 from 2004 marks his shift from criss-crossing marks to all-over vertical lines painted with custom-made flat brush on canvas. It has been the major visual language in his abstract paintings since then——a formal expression with sense of absoluteness deeply rooted in traditional Chinese calligraphy, a set of marks pointing towards the inner space within himself. Pure verticality stretches the boundary of the two dimensional space to infinity. Layer over layers, space within spaces, time that expands, experiences accumulates, forms rewritten, action reveals, all moderated by a rational set of mind. At the same time, lines meet in order, color put down with thoughts, negative space comes forward, layers begin to add depth, all help cultivating the souls of the works. During the repetitive making process, the ego of the artist retreats and the sight of the audience expands. Here, retreat means nothing of escapism, but a place of reflection upon the turmoil of reality.
Shen Chen’s “Untitled” series carries two parallel notions. His monochromatic paintings share similar atmosphere with his experimental ink works from the 1980s. These paintings are made by evenly applying diluted lead grey acrylic layers on the canvas to create subtle interaction among shades. For the more colorful works, he creates complimentary grey with more diverse color effect, which creates space where the temperature and tone shift. In this exhibition, the works after 2017 show a tendency to large scale. Multi-panel painting is also another new form of display. The artist would strictly design the distance between paintings as he takes on a rational approach to negotiate the complicated relationship between pictorial and reality space, to echo the spiritual space within paintings from various point of views.
Born in China in 1955, Shen Chen is a New York and Shanghai based artist. He began his art education in high school and continued his training at Shanghai Art College (previously known as the Shanghai “5.7” Art School). He moved to Beijing after earning his BFA from the Shanghai Theater Academy in 1982. In 1988, he went to the United States on a fellowship as artist in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Later that year, he moved to New York upon receiving an exchange student fellowship from the Studio School of Painting and Sculpture. He continued his studies at Boston University on an MFA scholarship the following year. He has lived in New York since 1991.
In the 1980s, Shen Chen was one of China’s pioneers of Chinese abstract painting and experimental ink painting. He was an active member of “Art Salon” (an underground art movement). In 1978, he organized an experimental exhibition “Wild Rose” while he was still in college. Since then, he has shown his works at various art museums, including the Shanghai Art Museum and Ningbo Museum of Art. He held his first solo show in 1984 at the China Journalist Society in Beijing, collaborating with galleries in Asia, Europe and America, and has continued showing his work in China and abroad at venues including the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Roma Academy of Fine Arts, Today Art Museum, Nantong Museum of Art, San Shang Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai University Museum, Queens Museum of Art, Zhendai Museum of Modern Art, Hexiangning Museum of Contemporary Art, Xi Hu Art Museum, Doulun Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Chinese in America, Ming Yuan Museum of Art, Epoch Art Museum, Yuan Art Museum, Himalaya Museum of Art, Singer Museum of Art, Bochum Museum, Kunsthalle Recklinghausen, Museum Hurrle Durbachand and ME Collection Berlin…