Contemporary Art of Artist Shen Jingdong - Chinese Contemporary Art
Shen Jingdong

Artist Statement

Who am I? – A Question I Try to Answer in My Works

At first I got inspiration for my Hero Series from a photo showing me in army uniform. My original plan was rather simple. I just wanted to present me as a hero.

I began with clay figurines, then made porcelain figurines, and finally, oils. Gradually, I came to treat more subjects than my personal image in army uniform – I presented people of all social walks.

People who were born in 1950s and 1960s have lived through the Red Era and heroes like Lei Feng, Huang Jiguang and Dong Cunrui have become their enduring memory. My creation of the series, in fact, is exploration of the people’s memory of that time. My works will revive their memory of heroes and thus start an interaction and communication between my works and their viewers. It is communication of people living in different times and places. My real purpose is to create images typical of a time and make the images popular. By means of such images, I am not preaching anything to the public, but showing my understanding of heroes in our time.

I do not want to make my creation a vehicle for many moral messages. I will be contented if my works will arouse people’s memory of something, make them think of something, stimulate them, and ignite an interaction between my images and their viewers. As for the real meaning of my works, I will leave their viewers to have their own opinions. I feel that in a time when heroes are absent, my works may have significance.

I think that acceptance of ideas contained in my works is a process of a commodity being accepted by consumers. It takes time. At first I meant to present myself as a hero, and then I broadened themes of my works. By my endeavor, my heroes are being accepted by the public. This means my ambition is being fulfilled. The image of an ordinary person like me will be passed down as a hero. A hundred years later, if my work still exists, people will ask who the person is.

“Who am I?” – That is the question I constantly try to answer in my works.

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