140 x 120 x 195 cm
Jin Shi visited the homes of rural migrants he befriended when he encountered their tiny street-side stalls selling cheap goods he describes as ‘gaudy and shoddy’. What he found shocked him – cramped overcrowded living spaces were crammed with the bare necessities of life. Jin Shi makes visible these largely unseen lives of poor urban migrants, living in the cracks of the cities – alleyways, demolition zones, underneath bridges and beside freeways. They come from impoverished provinces to run small businesses in the big cities, hoping to escape rural poverty (although recent government policies have forced many to return to their hometowns). Everything in this work is scaled down to approximately 2/3 size of real things. These lives are literally ‘made small’ by the inequalities of wealth and power that emerged following the demise of the socialist ‘iron rice bowl’ system and that have become ever more dramatically evident in recent years. The artist represents the contrast between the poverty of their reality and their aspirations by miniaturising the chaotic and cluttered temporary dwelling and all the random objects it contains. Jin Shi represents the realities of those who are generally unremarked in the rush and bustle of contemporary urban life.