Shen Fan's new commissioned work Bygone Times is on view at Shanghai Library East Building since February 22, 2022. For the launch of the New LOGO of Shanghai Library designed by Chen Youjian featuring the era of mega-reading, Shen Fan, commissioned by the UAP team, created this work presenting an abstract scene composed of paragraphs and sentences after the concrete words of old newspapers are dissolved by time.
The Shanghai Library East Building, designed by SHL Architects, looks like a sculpture floating above the canopy of a park in the Pudong New Area. In the context of the evolving medium of writing in the development of Chinese culture, the 10 commissioned artists include Emily Floyd, Gu Wenda, Liu Wenxuan, Simon Ma, Ni Youyu, Shen Fan, Plummer & Smith, Xu Bing, Yang Zhenzhong, Zheng Chongbin, use their unique visual language to create 10 custom-made works for the library, which span a variety of art forms and are committed to creating complementary public art for this world-class urban library.
Shen Fan’s Bygone Times is derived from his Punctuation series, which draws inspiration from focuses on the pure form of sentence and paragraph reading. Using black and white to regularly blot out the text, leaving only punctuations, the artist visually conveys the formal beauty of paragraph structure in the old newspapers. According to the artist, punctuation is a universal language that can give a text a purely empathic meaning even without words. Punctuation is the pause in reading, the blank space in the mind, and the rhythm of words, like musical notes. The work is a piece of silent music for audiences consisting of the pure rhythm and beat of words without content.