Image above by Shen Wei, Sea, 2014, ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York
Flowers Gallery presented on January 22nd Shen Wei’s first solo exhibition at Flowers Gallery, New York. Shen Wei is known for his intimately revealing photographic portraits, in which the themes of identity, memory, sexuality and self-discovery are explored through the landscapes of his homeland, and the nude figure.
Shen Wei, (Left) Third Eye,2013; (Right) Mask,2013, ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York
Invisible Atlas is inspired by the Chinese philosophy of Qi - an unseen life force and a method of healing. For Shen Wei, this mysterious vital energy is poetic and seductive. Using his own body and personality as a subject, he envisions the internal and external forces channeling through the body and its surroundings. Drawing from memories of his childhood, as well as religious, historical and mythological imagery, the narrative is interwoven with elements of fantasy. Photographic subjects of the figure, objects and landscape are combined with minimally rendered drawings, where luminous dots, circles, arcs, arrows and waves give tangible form to imagined flows and concentrations of Qi.
The concept of energy flow is deeply rooted in Chinese traditional culture, and is gaining wider interest in the contemporary western world. According to ancient philosopher Laozi, Qi embraces “all manifestations of energy, from the most material aspects of energy (such as the earth beneath your feet, the flesh and the blood) to the most immaterial aspects (light, movement, heat, thought, and emotion)”.
Invisible Atlas presents the material and immaterial as deeply intertwined. Shen Wei creates a vision of a multi-dimensional world, in his own words, “a path to our desires for beauty, secrecy and pleasure.”
To coincide with his solo exhibition, Shen Wei is also curating a group show Second Thought at Flowers Gallery, featuring work by Shiyuan Liu,Tingwei Li and Peter Glenn Oakley.
Shen Wei, Dust, 2014, ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York
"I have always been fascinated about the idea of Qi– the subtle energy that permeates everything in life and links all its elements together. This idea constantly makes me curious about how human beings and the material world are universally related and bonded to each othe" – Shen Wei
Shen Wei, Lotus, 2014, ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York
Shen Wei, Pokhara, 2014, ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York
Shen Wei, Sarangkot, 2014, ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York
Shen Wei, Spoon, 2014 ©Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery, New York