The Shadow Never Lies

Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum
30 April - 31 July 2016


Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum (M21) is pleased to host "The Shadow Never Lies" from April 30th to July 31st 2016. This international exhibition was designed to show how concepts and their aesthetic preoccupations cross political and cultural boundaries. It includes 34 different artists' works in photography, video, film, animation, painting, installation and performance. The exhibition wass curated by Jiang Jiehong and Mark Nash.


The Chinese word yingxiang can be translated literally as 'shadow image' in English. In the context of contemporary art, yingxiang refers to visual media including both still and moving images, such as photography video, film and animation, whether

produced through traditional or digital techniques.


Our shadows link us to as well as distance us from reality - they are so to speak an indexical figure that guarantees our humanity. And in art, there are different aesthetic traditions and cultural understandings of shadows between East and West.

In the early 19th century, photography was born as 'the art of fixing shadows'; and today, when our sense of the reality of the material world has been dissolved by digital technologies, shadows emphasise the fragility of our ontological distinctions between the imaginary and the real. 


To many, what we see in a photograph is 'true', and the foremost function of

yingxiang is to record this reality both visually and durationally. However, the 'objectivity' and the 'materiality' of yingxiang do not necessarily provide

'truthfulness', while the practical production process, if regarded as merely mechanical, can act as a mask for its 'objective' appearance. Shadows are always

loyal to their subjects, attached, and yet keep the 'other' distanced from reality.


Similarly, the forms of yingxiang, artistic strategies which block, foreground or distort the relationship to actuality, offer the impression of immediate contact with the real but by their very nature prevent that. In this exhibition then, yingxiang is no longer a simple definition of a visual medium, but a particular concept, a new perspective, through which we re-experience its 'remoteness' and 'otherness'. Today, yingxiang is

everywhere. It has conjured up a colorful web of images that envelop us, whether true or false, they fabricate and interpret a different reality. 




Poklong ANADING (Philippines), Daniel BOYD (Australia), CHEN Chieh-Jen (Taiwan), CHEN Shaoxiong (China), Anne Katrine DOLVEN (Norway), Simryn GILL (Malaysia), João Maria GUSMÃO and Pedro PAIVA (Portugal), HAN Kyung Woo (South Korea), HU Jieming (China), HU Xiaoyuan (China), JIANG Pengyi (China), JIN Feng (China), Joan JONAS (United States), Isaac JULIEN (United Kingdom), Tina KEANE (United Kingdom), William KENTRIDGE (South Africa), LAM Tung Pang (Hong Kong), LU Yang (China), Bashir MAKHOUL (Palestine), MIAO Xiaochun (China), Takao MINAMI (Japan), Richard MOSSE (Ireland), QIU Zhijie (China), Shahzia SIKANDER (Pakistan), Shaw Xu (China), WANG Gongxin (China), WANG Sishun (China), WANG Yuyang (China), WU Chi-Tsung (Taiwan), YANG Zhenzhong (China), YUAN Gong (China), ZHANG Dali

(China), ZHANG Peili (China), ZHUANG Hui (China)

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