Shao Yi's meticulously made objects operate on the threshold between sculpture, installation art etc. In many of the works, the unexpected combination of stylistically distinct objects and material suggest various kinds of personal and mythical relationships. Combined together, these objects and paintings comprise subtle geometries and impartial perspectives.
Shao Yi's recent works mainly focus on the discovery and the use of new textures and material. Beginning in 2011, the artist purchased a piece of safety glass, smashed it into small pieces and initiated his new series of works, including 12x12x12, Hong, Parabola and so forth. Shao Yi produces these geometrical patterns or words, starting from a single point, an angle or for example from details of a particular side. The pieces of glass are extended on other edges and sides, presenting various forms at each step.
Similarly, Shao Yi's idiosyncratic 2010 works are composed of traditional auspicious patterns, modern industrial molds, folk art. From two and three-dimensional works to installations, Shao Yi builds a unique system of faith-related symbols. He turns auspicious patterns such as Ru Yi, Yuan Bao, Pi Xiu and bats into abstract creatures or decorative landscape paintings, while modern industrial wood molds are reassembled into curious and extravagant totemic sculptures. Daily ready-mades or amulets are displayed on one side of wooden billboards and large scale aluminum badges on the other, expanding common materials' numerous evocative possibilities.
The installation piece Broadcast (2008) likewise represents the coalescence of everyday objects. Audio and images are juxtaposed to demonstrate the most quotidian still pictures in real life. Broadcast consists of Cultural Revolution era speakers the artist collected from rural areas around China. The viewer is confronted with a barrage of voices blaring from the speakers at once. Political propaganda intermingles with regular conversations – it is impossible to distinguish which is which. The artist perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of China during the Cultural Revolution, when politics infiltrated private lives to the point where politics was life.
Like his contemporaries, Shao has seen people become more and more isolated, progressively detached from traditional family life, live in anonymous apartments, shop at supermarkets and mega-malls, and compressed into a virtual world where they bound only with television and the Internet.
Shao Yi was born in Hangzhou in 1967, lives and works in Hangzhou and Shanghai. Recent exhibitions include: Silent Thunder, UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2021); Advent: Inventing Landscape, Producing the Earth, Qianshao Contemporary Art Center, Shanghai (2019); As A Reason for December 12th, Hangzhou (2018); Bunker · Dialogue, The Bunker, Beijing (2017); Shao Yi Solo Exhibition: Shao Yi Is Here, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing (2016); Totem Producing, ShanghART, Beijing (2015); Light Fogging, BizArt, Shanghai (2008); Time of the Dragon - Contemporary Art from Shanghai, Rauma Art Museum, Finland (2012); Pulse Reaction, An Exchange Project on Art Practice, Times Museum, Guangdong (2012); Elementary Spectacle, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai (2010); Contemporary Art Exhibition in Songjiang, Songjiang Creative Studio, Shanghai (2009); Light Fogging - Shao Yi Solo Exhibition, BizArt, Shanghai (2008).