ISBN : 978-988-98388-3-4
Publisher : Osage Contemporary Art Space
Date Published : June 2006
Author : Jonathan Thomson
Editor : Shen Shaomin, Agnes Lin
Designer : Ouyang Hui
Curator : –
Artist/s: : Shen Shaomin
This publication was published as the catalogue to the exhibition, Shen Shaomin: Scary Monster held at Osage Contemporary Art Space in Kwun Tong from 09 June to 07 August 2009.
Scary Monsters features extraordinary exhibition of sculpture and photography by Shen Shaomin. Shen’s work examines our anxieties about the things that drive us and the directions that science and technology may take us. In his work he imagines a future where human development has been supplanted by abominations and the world has come to be dominated by fantastic creatures.
Shen adopts the stance of a natural historian investigating the past, but seems just as easily able to excavate the future. Transhumanism is the international movement that advocates the physical and mental enhancement of human capacity through biotechnology, cybernetics, nanotechnology, and information technologies in order to arrive at a techno-utopian post-human future. It is a theme which has informed some of the most compelling contemporary fiction but it has also been described in Britain’s House of Lords as the “world’s most dangerous idea”. Fear of the future, of science gone horribly wrong is nothing new. Horror science fiction stories, from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the X Men aim to invoke our worst fears. Fear and danger are almost always compelling and the ways in which they command our attention are linked to our survival as a species. Opponents of genetic modification and transhumanism believe we have more cause for concern than ever before because now the technology is real.
All of these ideas come together in the work of the artist Shen Shaomin. He takes the bones of vermin or ordinary farmed animals and bones that he has moulded himself out of bone meal and glue and re-assembles them into configurations that are the stuff of nightmares. The recent exhibition in Hong Kong of the bones of dinosaurs from our distant past was hugely popular. Shen’s work shows us the bones of our possible future. Shen’s creatures may be fictitious but they actively engage the structures of belief on which our global societies are built. These extraordinary works challenge the received values of established religions, education systems, and the custodians of our cultures.