We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


I want to know what infinity is



Shen Shaomin


1956 –

No image
  • Details

    Media category
    Materials used
    silica gel simulation, wooden deckchair, internal motor, salt
    78.0 x 154.0 x 58.0 cm
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Gift of the Droga 8 Collection (The collection of Daniel and Lyndell Droga) 2013, in acknowledgement of Tony Bond OAM. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Shen Shaomin
    Artist information
    Shen Shaomin

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Shen Shaomin was born in Heilongjiang province, northeastern China, in 1956. Although not academically trained as an artist, he became familiar with art practice through an art education system that encouraged instruction for the masses. In the 1980s he had trained as a printmaker participating in a number of exhibitions. By the late 1980s Shen migrated to Australia, and currently travels between China and Australia. His work has developed as a commentary on how humans relate to issues about the destruction of the environment, and the extent to which genetics is manipulated and by whom.

    'I want to know what infinity is' was produced in 2011 as a comment on the world we live in and which has been potentially destroyed for the future. On first glance, the silicone model portrays an old, haggard, androgynous person sitting on a deckchair in harsh sunlight at the beach. On closer inspection, the exposed genitals reveal that this is an old woman, breasts sagging, with a balding head and features which portray someone who looks close to death. Contributing to this deathly portrayal is the slowed rate at which the model ‘breathes’ with only slight movement being visible. The work shows a reality which is grotesque, but confronts the viewer about the consequences of climate change and global warming: not only physically to the body, but also to our environment. Hence the beach she sits on is no longer sand, but the salt that is a result of the drying up of the oceans that surrounds us.

    AGNSW 2013

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

    • The day after tomorrow, Gallery 4a, Haymarket, 15 Nov 2011–10 Dec 2011

    • ARTHK12, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong, 17 May 2012–20 May 2012

Other works by Shen Shaomin

See all 7 works