chinese contemporary art
Artists >> Shao Yinong & Mu Chen

Shao Yinong and Mu Chen's work calls upon the mechanisms of memory and documentation. Their first exploration, "Family Register" was to recreate Shao Yinong's lost family tree by photographing all the existing family members they could trace. All were photographed wearing a Mao jacket over their normal clothes, the Mao jacket signifying a unity of experience, particularly that of the 1960s and 1970s, while the other clothes indicate individuality. The work is presented as a hand scroll and the photos are sepia tinted, both markers of the past. This modern reconstruction of the old family tree is necessarily incomplete pointing to the fact that the present can be only a prompt for recollection of the past.

The next series of Shao Yinong's and Mu Chen's collaboration appears at first more documentary than the previous works. It is the "Assembly Hall" series - photographs of empty assembly halls across China. These halls were most frequently used during the fanaticism of the Cultural Revolution. Presented in these works they are spaces charged with memories of hundreds of people.