Intensity of Concreteness

Shen Ling

Curated by Eunmi Lee & Lorand Hegyi

4.1 - 9.2, 2019

Hong Kong


Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong is proud to announce the opening of Shen Ling’s solo exhibition “Intensity of Concreteness”. The exhibition will present series of oil paintings and works on paper by celebrated Chinese female artist Shen Ling and highlight artist's pictorial universe that is based on her sensitive, poetical, empathic interpretation of human complexity.

Her drawings seem to have a free and lighthearted innocence, and a spontaneous sense of chance and fragmentation. The trivial minutiae of everyday life often appear in her drawings. Animals and plants, housewares and studio tools, intimate friends, strangers encountered in a coffee shop or on the street, old photographs, decorative items, home furnishings, birds resting on branches in a garden, and portraits of her spouse or friends - all of this is layered in a very unusual, fresh way that breaks through genre hierarchies. This infinite array of things is fully incorporated into an extremely personalized, fictional, and almost fairytale micro-universe with an emotional continuity that is, as a result, imbued with a sense of poetry. This obvious, poetic coherence stems from the depth and strength of the artist’s personal emotional relationships to fast-changing, fragmented microscopic realities.

Shen Ling shapes a confusing, concentrated painted reality; here, various narrative elements with irrational or fairytale aspects do not follow an absolute sequence with a strict order established in advance. In multi-coloured forests, animals, feral cats, birds, fish, and snakes are faintly visible behind the trees and flowers, disordering our spatial perceptions and confusing their position within fictional pictorial reality. This fictional, concentrated, seductive, magnificent, mysterious, and unpredictable pictorial space attracts the viewers. This playful delight and colorful liveliness come from the infinite vitality of the coherence of existence, which is vitality that you can perceive in any narrative or small thing. Shen Ling achieves depth when presenting small things in a perceptive way, filling her works with vitality, even though she avoids making any literary or spectacular representation of a story or linear narrative process. Her work does not contain any visual narrative that can appeal to the viewer through pictures, thereby generating from painting itself a series of pictorial events that are constructed through pictures and compositions.  

The motivations in Shen Ling’s depictive representation are reflected in microcosms in which the compactness blurs the latent boundaries between compositional elements of pictorial realities in her imagination, so they can only be explained in the overall visual contexts of metaphors and narratives. The irresistible smallness of the coherence of existence is embodied as the lively, harmonious, and poetic essence of Shen Ling’s seductive yet innocent and natural images. Shen Ling’s painted universe and her keen, empathetic questioning of the small things and the essential meaning of life itself are connected to her satires and critical interpretations of the vague complexity of human nature. 

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Autumnal Wind and Rain on a Moody Day 200 x 200 cm x 3 oil on canvas 2016

Jealous Night in Flowery Wind No.1 200 x 200 cm oil on canvas 2017

Sleepwalking 200 x 200 cm oil on canvas 2017

Unique Fragrance 75 x 60 cm oil on canvas 2015

Black Crows on a Tree 100 x 100 cm oil on canvas 2018

Winter Star 100 x 100 cm oil on canvas 2018

Cold Moon 100 x 100 cm oil on canvas 2018

Drifting No.1 200 x 200 cm oil on canvas 2017

Drifting No.2 200 x 200 cm oil on canvas 2017

Drifting No.3 200 x 200 cm oil on canvas 2017

Ephemeral 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Ephemeral 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Ephemeral 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Ephemeral 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Ephemeral 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Smog 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Smog 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Smog 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Smog 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

Smog 29.7 x 21 cm pencil on paper 2015 - 2018

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Shen Ling


Shen Ling was born in 1965 in Liaoning Province, China. In 1985, she graduated from the Afflicted High School to Central Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1989, she received her bachelor degree from the Oil Painting Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts where she is currently working.


Within extraordinary discussions of painting, Shen Ling relies on unusual painting methods to build an essential, current pictorial reality that also has critical and satirical elements on a psychological-literary-emotional level; her work is similarly directly related to metaphors of lived entities that are experienced, realized, and internalized. Her views on the world are more often expressed as a joyful affirmation of the trivial, heterogenous, and diverse facets possessed by all things in this tangible, miniature reality.

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Lorand Hegyi


Dr. Lóránd Hegyi (born in 1954 in Budapest, Hungary) is one of Europe's foremost curators and art historians. He is the former director of Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain in Saint-Etienne (France) and the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation (Austria) and the founding director of Palazzo delle Arti di Napoli (Italy). He is also the current art director of Parkview Museum in Singapore. He curated several exhibitions for leading artists from Central and East Europe and wrote numerous books and articles about contemporary art and cultural criticism. 

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Eunmi Lee


Lee Eunmi was born in 1975 in South Korea. In 1989 she moved to Japan where she studied art at Tama Art University. In 2000, she received her master’s degree in visual arts. She curated exhibitions at Daejeon Art Museum (South Korea), Busan Art Museum (South Korea) and Parkview Museum (China) featuring renowned Western and Asian artists, including Roman Opalka, Sean Skully, Tony Cragg, Lee Ufan, Kei Takemura, Wang Yuping and others. She lives and works in Italy.


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