Xianyou, China, 1959. Lives and works in Paris.
Shen Yuan emigrated to the west at the end of the 80s together with other avant-garde artists and this experience has had a strong influence on her work. Her work deals with concepts such as globalisation, language, translation, significance and subjectivity through sculptures and designs which can be joyful and seductive, but also repulsive and disturbing. It creates atmospheres and effects in which the psychological conditions leap out attracting the senses.
An image reiterated in her iconography is language, which she uses as a symbol, a result of the impact of her arrival to Europe for the first time, where her mother tongue stopped being “useful” faced with a new language, but at the same time for its association with a sense of comfort. It also makes reference to toys, food and smells, in the form of flashbacks from childhood and the traditions of her country.
In her work she transforms items from her daily life into poetic and often disturbing meditations on issues of immigration, memory and language. Committed to the transformation of words and images, the work of Shen Yuan can be seen as physical traces of journeys and translations through various cultural spaces.