Can you re-imagine your computer?

Try.

What about that sweater you wore last Christmas?

Your denim jeans?

Could you re-create these common items into an elegant commentary on societies relationship with these objects?  It’s difficult.  My mind certainly does not work that way.

Though there are talented minds out there that are able to see beyond an object, break it down, and create something new. Jean Shin is one of those minds. She is a nationally recognized for her large-scale works which uses everyday items as an expression of the individual and the masses.  One of my favorite expressions is her TEXTile piece.  Using thousands of computer keys she creates a beautiful tapestry.  The keys spell out a line-by-line transcript of the email correspondence between the artist and fabricators regarding the creation of the artwork. As a result, the sculpture documents its own making.  It is also an interactive work, a viewer can type in a word which will be projected on the opposite end of the fabric.

She also has a few works that are based in fashion: commentaries on how it represents different groups of people who effect our everyday lives.

Alterations is a cityscape created out of colorful scraps from shortened pants or jeans.  “The standing heights of each wax-stiffened cuff represent the measurement of the body in absence. The installation comments on one’s failure to measure up to the fashion industry’s standard size (height-wise).” – Jean

“At the same time, the cast-off cuffs refer to a population—predominantly Asian immigrants—who make up a large portion of the clothing industry’s workforce, including sweat-shop seamstresses, tailors and dry-cleaners.” – Jean

Fringe is a piece of thousands of old worn ties woven into an urban chain link fence.  “This symbol of the white-collar worker contrasts sharply with the depressed, urban setting where the piece was installed. By juxtaposing luxurious ties with the industrial chain-link fence, the installation brings attention to barriers that separate and divide us, speaking to issues of power, gender, public and private.” – Jean

Then there is Pattern Folds, which is a work that relates to the individual.  The piece is made of 30 sculptures which were created out of Calvin Klein fabric from his Spring 2010 collection. The fabric was stiffened and cut away to represent the runway looks, then refolded into an upright piece.  This is my favorite installation because it allows the viewer to explore the relationship between their own body and fashion by examining the cutouts. And lord knows, sometimes we need to be reminded that being a sample size is rare.  This work puts into perspective the “perfect” body type in relation to your own.

Jean has an upcoming show in Battery Park City in September 2010.

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