Artist : Jean Shin

One of the consistent questions people ask when they see my new Land Grab series is "How do you plan to show the work?" I always answer "Just like you see it, on the floor or on the wall." This answer always leads to raised eyebrows. Not in a frame or on a canvas? A lot of artists chose to create installations because it really is the best way to present their idea behind their work.

Alterations, 1999.
And hence, I'd like to make my point that there is a LOT of great, mind blowing art that isn't 'framed' or uses only one medium. I found a great artist to share with you who wrecks those entire notions: Jean Shin. I found her work after reading Lari's blog about this artist, who mentions Jean as a major inspiration in her work. I wasn't sure at first, what those blue 'vases' were in the photo above. Until I saw this.

Alterations, 1999.
Clever and amazing.

Hide Series, 2004.
The above materials are made up of leather and suede shoes and shoelaces. Let me just say, Jean is all over the map with her materials, which is her point. But it all works, it all makes sense for each of its' subjects.

In her own words:

By transforming accumulations of everyday objects into visually alluring conceptual explorations, my work speaks to the optimism inherent in giving new form to life’s leftovers.  In my sculptures and large-scale installations, I seek to recall an object’s past, as well as suggest its greater connection to our collective memories, desires and failures.
- Jean Shin

I tend to have a weakness for artists who use repetition in their work. She has a way of placing the pieces in such a way that they almost breath with the lives of the past owners. I love this piece.

Stepping Stones (Pots and Pans), 2007.
Putting the everyday object in an unexpected location can completely turn around the meaning of a piece. In the case above, from a cooking pot to a musical instrument.

Chemical Balance, 2005-9.
What happens to all those pill bottles we leave behind every year in our overuse of medications. The title tells it all, Chemical Balance.

See more of Jean Shin's work at her website. Jean was featured along with her co-designer, Brian Ripple, in The Boston Globe for their "Retreat" installation at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA.


Lari Washburn said...

Wow! What an interesting post. Lots of meat to dig into here. I love this work. I can see why Lizz is influenced by her. Those denim "cutoffs" are brilliant. The pots and pans remind me of Sophie's felted sweater flower project. And thanks for responding to my post...I always smile when I see your name. I've never done any installation work, but I'm a great admirer of that mode. I'm looking forward to more land grab work.

**EYE-SNACKS** said...

Indeed Kathryn,a very interesting post!! Sometimes I'm struggeling with that issue..Once I exposed a work on the floor with rice and textiles. People reacted the same way you described above.

xx Ingrid

Jesse Lu Bain said...

Very cool... that denim installation has to speak to Hesse on some level... don't you think?

Kristin L said...

Thanks for the insight into these and your installations. I've been wondering how exhibits like these move around. Once you have made a piece like Land Grab in your studio, or outdoors like Shin's Stepping Stones, is that it? Is it then photographs of the installations that make it to gallery walls? Or, is the installation carefully recreated in a gallery once the initial idea is worked out in the artist's studio? Are the bits stored in boxes afterwards, or once an exhibit is over, so is the installation -- meaning the bits go back in the scrap pile or cupboard and back to their mundane lives as pots and pans, or trash to be recycled? I like the ephemeral aspect of an installation existing at one time and place and then being gone, or morphing into something else at the next site or incarnation.I suspect there's not just one answer, but these are questions I always have when I see installation work.

kathrynclark said...

Kristin, great question about installations. I'm new at it myself but from what I've garnered, everything gets packed up and reassembled at each exhibition. I think some installations are looser than others. For example, I would be fine with whatever pottery layout happened within my land grab pieces, as long as the country outlines are accurate. I'm reusing the pottery for each new piece I make and photograph (that's what sells the series) and if a show comes up, I'll find more pottery as needed. It's all an experiment!

blandina said...

Another fascinating post that I have been reading more than once. I am amazed by these installations, what a great expressive mean an installation can be.


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