Current Exhibition

Shen Xin

but this is the language we met in;

January 20 - March 30, 2024

Above: Shen Xin, Grounds of Coherence #1, "but this is the language we met in / 天雨粟 #1,我们在这个语言中相遇," 2023, video still, Courtesy of the artist

Richmond Art Gallery is proud to present Chinese artist Shen Xin’s haunting debut exhibition in Canada. At its heart is a poetic new work called but this is the language we met in, the first film in a forthcoming series with the overarching title of Grounds of Coherence. With this project accompanied by four small paintings, the artist deepens their ongoing engagement with what they describe as “ways of coming to knowing, and the ecosystems of languages.”

This experimental video’s wide-ranging imagery and multifaceted soundscape is permeated with the artist’s apparent yearning to unearth language in its most primal forms. Shen uses the tree in particular as an embodied example of these “ecosystems of language.” Sensory images of trees in their natural and processed states are interspersed throughout the video: the rough texture of mottled bark, crisscrossing branches, flames leaping from a pile of logs, a shaft of light sliding across a wall’s smooth wood-paneled surface, a shingled rooftop.

For Shen, language is often deeply embodied, at times employing the voice, the gaze, gestures, facial expressions, laughter, sometimes the entire body, as with dance. The video evokes how certain aspects of language persist while others have changed, underscoring the ameliorations and limitations of contemporary communication: a finger clumsily tracing written characters on a computer screen, voices sounding out words in Arabic and Uyghur accompanied by subtitles, the enduring need for translation for comprehension to occur, the collective chanting of voices raised in protest at a demonstration, a conversation between two people who share a common language though not a mother tongue, the telling of stories and the singing of songs.

Shen Xin was born in Chengdu, China and is currently based in Scotland. They graduated from La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore and earned their MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in London. Their work has been shown at major art institutions around the world, including the Walker Art Center and SeMA Seoul Museum of Art, and has been featured in Art Review, ArtDaily, and Art Asia Pacific.

Above: Shen Xin, Grounds of Coherence #1, "but this is the language we met in / 天雨粟 #1,我们在这个语言中相遇," 2023, video still, Courtesy of the artist


Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Monday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Closed on statutory holidays.

Current Exhibitions


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Richmond Cultural Centre
7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC  V6Y 1R8
Canada Line Station: Richmond-Brighouse


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