The People

322cm x 161cm x 32cm

Curator's Eye

Using his materials as a means to explore socio-political discourse within contemporary China, Yingming Chen presents a wide-ranging collection of sculptures that investigate themes of globalisation, governmental surveillance and traditional Chinese culture. A plethora of materials are used here, from identical pairs of shoes that question the reality of individualism in China, to a papier-mâché video camera that comments on the complexities of free speech and the documentation of protests.

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A sculptural work that involves a large number of identical shoes of Chinese national brand (Warrior), which are displayed inside two vitrines, made from plywood and perspex. These are based on two Chinese characters 人民; taken together, these stand for ‘The People’. The aim of the work is to use the characteristics of shoes as a national brand and to ‘confine’ them within a traditional phrase in order to critique the notion of ‘the people’ in the context of contemporary Chinese society. It raises questions about the connection between individuals and groups, as well as the relationship between the country and its people. When individuals denounce certain forms of democratic protest, are they expressing their freedom to have a critical opinion, or are they simply defending the totalitarianism that surrounds them?

Medium: Plywood, Perspex and Shoes

Country of Origin: England