Night Gallery is proud to present Hall of Mirrors, an exhibition of new sculptures by Shanghai- based artist Jin Shan. At the forefront of a generation of emerging Chinese artists, Jin has risen to prominence as a playful voice of dissent. Utilizing varied materials, he employs humor and satire to reflect the experiences of young people grappling with significant societal shifts while also commenting on universal power structures that exist across the cultural spectrum. This will be his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
In 1678, Louis XIV began construction on The Hall of Mirrors within the Palace of Versailles, a space that served to connect the royal, private quarters to the palace chapel. In this corridor, the king was greeted by courtiers jockeying for his favor. In addition to displaying the opulence of the empire — mirrors were among the rarest and most expensive items to own in the 17th century — it is said that the mirrors were employed to distort and disorient Louis XIV’s subjects. In this exhibition, Jin conflates the idea of this mirrored corridor with the classical sculpture halls of western history.
For Jin, the sculpture hall has come to represent Western traditional aesthetics and humanistic values. Here the artist collapses this paradigm with Louis XIV’s manipulation of his audience, creating a raucous and contradictory space. His installation interrogates the authority and the draw of the classical human figure, imbuing it with a more forceful tenor. These familiar and iconic figures are reimagined with contemporary materials — mutated and reshaped with plastic, iron wire and polyphenylene sulfide. By hollowing out, melting, doubling and distending these forms, they no longer serve as archetypal representations - but instead act as manic, fragile, and fractured doubles of human bodies and experience. The visceral and alchemic nature of the works extends to the surroundings, where the artist has burned silhouettes of classical Roman columns into the walls. With this installation, Jin demonstrates that while humanist ideals have fallen far from their pedestal, nonetheless the desire for them remains.