Chen Shaoxiong 陈劭雄, ‘Collective memory - Shanghai, the Bund’, 2006, DSL Collection

Urban lives leave different memories for individuals, not only for local citizens, but also for foreign visitors. The emergence of cities symbolises national power and economic growth which is itself part of a collective creation. The thousands of thumb prints on this work represent such a collective memory. Chen's painting technique (using fingerprints to emulate digital photography) is almost pixel-like, symbolizing the meshing of people's lives and the landscape.

About Chen Shaoxiong 陈劭雄

Originally trained in Chinese ink, Chen Shaoxiong has worked across mediums including paint, photography, and collage, though he has become increasingly focused on the combination of ink, video, and installation. Chen reacts to the changing circumstances of his home city of Guangzhou through ink animations—such as “Ink City”, “Ink History”, and “Ink Things” (all 2005-07)—in which he depicts people in everyday situations. When strung together, these montages of ink drawings (based on photographs), create a narrative at once clearly urban and yet open for interpretation. A founding member of Guangzhou’s “Big Tail Elephant” group, Chen’s work is not restricted to specific theme, yet he is acutely aware of China’s ever-changing context, brought on by rapid urbanization, globalization, and their political and social ramifications. His use of ink is resonant with metaphor: he adapts a cherished, historical Chinese tradition for use in new mediums and to explore pressing contemporary issues.

Chinese, 1962-2016, Shantou, Guangdong Province, China, based in Beijing and Guangzhou, China