Shen Wei | A journey of identity

This major exhibition is a U.K. first for New York based, Chinese artist, Shen Wei. The exhibition, including photography and moving images, explores identity, memory and sexuality. Chinese culture features heavily, but also is commented on from his own personal journey of self discovery and how he fits into those traditions. At the Flowers Gallery, Kingsland Road, London, from the 3rd of May to the 22nd of June.

I stood silently, watching a video of dew drops sparkling on the grass like jewels, as the camera moves slowly through the undergrowth - the light breaking through and blinding the lens at times. A calming video at the centre of the exhibition. Some art needs no explanation nor narrative instead it is the emotions it invokes within you.

Contrast is the main theme I identified with, many of the photographs are extremely dark, with one light focal point in the centre, for example a feather falling to the ground, a white blossom tree at night time, or the light brown wood frame of a new building within a town.

These focus points make me feel a sense of purity and calm, a true beauty glowing in the darkness. The use of nature always makes a connection, for me, with how we are all natural beings - just bodies with needs and cycles and growth.

Shen Wei makes some bold statements in some of the photographs, appearing nude in most of them - however covered modestly. He uses traditional Chinese ceremonial clothing and the mix of sexuality to create some photos that can be quite shocking - I’ll let you explore those for yourself.

The exhibition is erotic yet calming, showing his personal stories and emotions through these beautifully created photographs. I know this exhibition is coming to an end, but this isn't just about Shen Wei but about the Flowers Gallery - two dazzling exhibitions in June, and I cannot wait for what they have planned for the gallery space in July.

Photography - All images © Shen Wei, Courtesy of Flowers Gallery.

Written by Caroline Louise Hamar.

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