Three Shadows presents “The Soften the Glow” featuring Shao Wenhuan's residency program in Switzerland

TEXT:Sue Wang    DATE: 2019.6.20

Three Shadows is delighted to present “The Soften the Glow” an exhibition created by the artist Shao Wenhuan in the SMArt residency program in Switzerland.

To continue his explorations of the landscapes of the natural world, Shao Wenhuan was invited to participate in the SMArt program, initiated by Switzerland’s Foundation for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions. He traveled to Monthey in the canton of Valais for a three-month residency. He engaged with the majestic Swiss mountain ranges and trained his lens on Swiss natural landmarks such as the Matterhorn and the Aletsch Glacier. He uses mixed media methods, primarily rooted in photography, to capture the deeper levels of this natural crisis, a motif with global significance.

Shao Wenhuan, The Glow; photography, mixed media, 110x300cm

Shao Wenhuan, Peaks; photography, Mixed media, 110x250cm

Taking photographs is just one step in Shao Wenhuan’s creative process. By assembling numerous focal points into a complete image that seems to conform to perspective (reality), he hides hundreds of moments in one image, creating something like the spiritual depictions of grand landscapes in nineteenth-century Romantic painting. He intervenes in the images using multiple artistic methods in addition tocollage. Paint strokes, cuts, tears, abrasions, and stains all appear in the works, forming rich layers of natural and man made detail. He also leaves tranquil white spaces in the images and uses black ink to give the sculptural glaciersa deeper black. These “scars” that appear in the images or in nature seem to hint at the pain hiding within the landscape. In his ongoing series Galaxy Box, Shao constructed programmed lightboxes as rectangular spaces that frame images of the Alpine night sky indistant Switzerland. The twinkling lights from human presence pierce the silence of the mountains and rivers; landscapes constantly vanish and are reborn in the fragmented images that persist in our eyes. The points of light and specks of dust in the shadowy mountain forests or the vast starry sky are visual wonders outside of the “experience” that Shao Wenhuan has created, inspiring both anxiety and fascination. Set against the exhibition’s title, “The Soften, The Glow,” the scars of mechanical violence constitute a poetic satire, highlighting the direct and indirect damage to landscapes caused by changes to human life and the resulting acceleration in natural resource extraction.

About the exhibition

Organizer: Three Shadows Photography Art Centre

Co-organizer: Foundation for Sustainable Development in Mountain Regions (FDDM), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Exhibition Coordinator: Yan Qi

Opening: 29th June 2019, 16:45

Artist Talk: 29th June 2019, 14:30

Duration: 29th June 2019 - 28th July 2019 (Closed on Mondays)

Location: 155A Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Courtesy of the artist and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, for further information please visit