coloured stainless-steel wire
102 x 260 x 170 cm
Shi Jindian’s sculptures are made of steel, yet they are almost ethereal. After searching for years for “a material that was brand new, completely untraditional”, he settled on steel wire. By trial and error, he developed a method of crocheting the two-dimensional strands into three-dimensional forms using tools of his own devising. With a small team of local assistants, his studio in the mountains outside Chengdu is filled with lacy transparent simulations of solid car and bike parts. These wire mesh structures start out as wrappings around a common object. When the mesh is complete, Shi Jindian destroys or extracts the object, leaving only its steel “shadow”. The result, he says, is a kind of fiction, a virtual reality that can be walked around and touched. His Blue CJ750 (2008) is a replica of the Chiangjiang [Yangtze], a military bike based on an early BMW and for decades reserved for the military. Beijing Jeep’s Shadow (2007) translates the chassis of an army jeep into an object of pure contemplation, an airy fantasy— yet accurate to the smallest detail.