A Trophy for the Installation
April 23, 2009
Last week, we began to install works by the artist Jean Shin for an exhibition titled Jean Shin: Common Threads that opens on May 1st. The artworks being assembled promise to be compelling. Jean uses a sophisticated process whereby she deconstructs, alters, and revives masses of objects, to create expressions of identities and communities. She fabricates complex installations from objects contributed by a given community. The installations in this show consist of prescription pill bottles, keyboard keys, neckties, lottery tickets, military service uniforms and, in a new figurative twist, trophies.
In a new work commissioned by the American Art Museum, Everyday Monuments, Jean is creating an installation with donated trophies. Nearly 2000 individual awards for hockey, tennis, and soccer (to name only a few) have been transformed into monuments to our everyday lives. She has altered the figurines so they perform daily tasks--like typing, painting houses, delivering newspapers, or vacuuming. These humble activities are celebrated on trophy pedestals, and in a sense, hint at past achievements as karate champs and diving experts.
But this is not recycled art. These are not merely found objects. The artist solicited contributions from family and friends as well as the Washington, DC community. Each donation brought its unique story, which has been woven into this collective portrait. Inscribed dates and award titles remain on the trophies. Individual pieces make up a critical mass presenting a 45 foot long installation, one that is undoubtedly larger than the sum of its parts.
Even with her team of 15 dedicated assistants and our museum staff, assembling Jean Shin's work in the exhibition space is very labor intensive and takes approximately two weeks. We have been documenting the process and posting images on Flickr. Expanding on Jean's process of amassing material from various communities and her interest in public participation, we invite you to share your experiences relating to Jean Shin's artworks. Join our Flickr Group at JeanShin: CommonThreads. There you can follow the installation process and upload images of your trophies or award ceremonies. Contribute stories of trophies in your life.
Related: Read more about our exhibition: Jean Shin: Common Threads.
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