Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Ne Zha – A Child’s Boutique on March 20, 2008, his second exhibition at the gallery. For his first exhibition at Chambers Fine Art in 2006 titled Ne Zha Baby Boutique, Shi Jinsong produced a range of articles expressed for baby Ne Zha, a much beloved figure of Chinese folklore and mythology.
Although Ne Zha is now chiefly celebrated as a God of Lotteries and Gambling, his origins were far from playful. As described by Shi Jinsong, Ne Zha is “a supernatural youthful hero who always recovers and refuses to grow up. He has three heads, nine eyes and eight arms, with blue clouds coming from his mouth, flamed wheels under his feet, and all kinds of powerful weapons in his hands. He needs only to shout for clouds to turn into rain. He cuts his own flesh and commits suicide to save his father, fights the dragon king, and overturns the universe.”
In the two years that have elapsed since the baby boutique offered a walker, cradle, pacifiers etc. suitable for the new-born infant, Ne Zha has grown up and the articles now available are appropriate for the young, all-powerful mini-warrior – a suit of armor, rocking horse, etc. In addition there is a naked effigy of the eight-armed youthful hero.
Born in Danyang County, Hubei Province in 1969, Shi Jinsong enrolled at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in 1994, majoring in sculpture. It soon became apparent to him that none of the traditional techniques he mastered were adequate to express the complexity of his relationship to the rapidly changing society in which he lived. Simultaneously deeply involved in the mythological past of China and the technological advances of the modern world, he found the precise and potentially dangerous forms of finely crafted stainless steel to be the medium most suited to his sculptural explorations.
Using the latest methods of product analysis and design, Shi Jinsong gives memorable three-dimensional existence to dreams and fantasies, whether it is the combination of a traditional Chinese three hand truck and a Harley Davidson in the recent Halong- Kellong installation at the 2006 Shanghai Biennale or his ongoing investigation of the powerful myth of Ne Zha.