UCCA presents Shen Yuan: Hurried Words, a poetic installation displaying two important recent works; a “landscape” made of combs and more than eighty small cloth tongues blown by hair driers. These two works, both connected with hair and related daily objects, open new forms of dialogue between cultures, a central feature of the art of Shen Yuan, who migrated to France about 20 years ago.
A giant comb is exhibited in UCCA Middle Hall, above which are various kinds of tangled hairstyles made of Asian, African, and Western hair. This idea comes from everyday life when we comb our hair; some stay on the comb and resemble heads, mini hairstyles or growing plants. The artist imagines them as a gathering crowd or forest. Beside, a huge hairdryer blows air causing the many tongues to fly over while muted by the sound of the device.
After she left China in 1990, Shen Yuan used the cultural splits caused by migration such as a new language and identity, as a departure point for her future art development and as elements of survival in a foreign land.
“Hurried Words is named as such because they always seem to be not apprehensible, and are unable to catch others’ attention. The hair dryer sends out a deafening noise. Here Shen Yuan intends to show how language loses itself in the work; she invites the audience to experience ‘hurried words’ after deviating topics and changing meanings”, explains Guo Xioayan, exhibition curator.