Shen Shaomin (b. 1956)
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Shen Shaomin (b. 1956)

Unknown Creature - Three Headed Monster

Details
Shen Shaomin (b. 1956)
Unknown Creature - Three Headed Monster
bone, metal and glue on wooden stand
overall: 59 x 27½ x 263¾in. (150 x 70 x 670cm.)
Executed in 2002
Provenance
Wedel Fine Art, London.
Acquired from the above in 2006.
Literature
U. Grosenick & C. Schübbe (eds.), China Art Book, Cologne 2007 (installation view and detail illustrated in colour, p. 333).
E. Booth-Clibborn (ed.), The History of the Saatchi Gallery, London 2011 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 729 and 852).
Exhibited
London, Saatchi Gallery, The Revolution Continues: New Art from China, 2008-2009 (installation view illustrated in colour, pp. 112 and 113; detail illustrated in colour, p. 115).
Special notice

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Bianca Chu
Bianca Chu

Lot Essay

Shen Shaomin adopts the role of being anthropologist, scientist and author of his own fabricated mythologies; his works feature a convergence of a life-long interest in fossils, mythical creatures and modern developments in bio-technology. Constructed from real animal bones, his sculptures collectively create a bestiary of fictional creatures as boldly seen in Unknown Creature - Three Headed Monster . Reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges's Book of Imaginary Beings from 1957, Shen's surreal assemblage exudes an ancient wisdom, authenticating the magic of fable and folklore, while alluding simultaneously to contemporary issues of genetic modification, consequence of environmental threat, and concepts of the alien and exotic.

Fusing these seemingly disparate influences, Unknown Creature - Three Headed Monster is as much a relic of the past as it is a Frankenstein-like creature concocted from a laboratory experiment. This idiosyncratic approach to sculpture as science fiction provides a futuristic backdrop to Shen's processes of making; and the paradoxical slippage between the real and theatrical, futuristic and archaic is what makes Unknown Creature - Three Headed Monster both wondrous and otherworldly.

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