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Contemporary art

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Asian art

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I want to know what infinity is



Shen Shaomin


1956 -


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




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


Artist information

Shen Shaomin

Works in the collection


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

  • 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