Shi Guowei

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Shi Guowei (1977, Luoyang, Henan) currently lives and works in Beijing. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in photography from the Department of Visual Communication at the Tsinghua University Academy of Arts & Design (the former Central Academy of Art and Design) in 2002, and he received his master’s degree in photography from the Fachhochschule Dortmund in 2006.

Shi Guowei further adapts the traditional photo-coloring process into a two-tiered structure, which means his process is neither capturing the fact as photography nor a creation out of nothing as painting. By re-coding the objectivity of original image with the colored layer with transparency, his work partitions the world into two layers: reality and perception. In this way, the artist attempts to negate the unique interpretation of a past fact, and illustrate manipulation is occurring right before our eyes. Despite the images as established facts are always visible, entirely different facts could be fabricated by a mere reconstruction of the object’s textures using color layers. Shi Guowei names these unreal phenomena that descend upon reality as authentic illusion: sensory actions that re-initiate emotions based on each image. By this, he intends to interrupt the logic of reality with a configuration of color layers.

Shi Guowei’s solo exhibition include: Shi Guowei: 2021-2023, Magician Space, Beijing, China (2023); The Drawn Out Moment, Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP), Shanghai, China (2021); A Walk in the Woods, Magician Space, Beijing, China (2019); Crossing Four Girls Mountain, Magician Space, Beijing, China (2016).

Selected group exhibition: SIGG : Chinese Contemporary Art from the Sigg Collection, SONGEUN Art Space, Seoul (2023); The First Beijing Biennial, National Base for International Cultural Trade, Beijing (2022); ReBirth- Encounter with Nature, Choi Center, Cloud House, Beijing (2022); Exuberance is Beauty, Song Art, Beijing (2021); The Curation Workshop II: Story and Structure, OCT Art&Design Galler, Shenzhen (2020); Among the Trees, Hayward Gallery, London (2020); Chinese Whispers: Recent Art from the Sigg Collection, MAK Museum Vienna, Vienna (2019); Changjiang International Photography and Video Biennale, Chongqing (2017); Nature: A Subjective Place, Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP), Shanghai (2016); Don’t Shoot The Painter, Galleriad’ Arte Moderna Milano (2015); The Civil Power, Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing (2015); The Bright Eye of the Universe, Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York (2015); Made in China, London (2013); The 6th Chengdu Biennale, Chengdu (2013); Pop Sensation from the UBS Art Collection, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong (2012); China: Memories & Imagination, Albemarle Gallery, London (2011); Dimplom-Arbeiten Dortmund Photography Exhibition, Germany (2006).

2021-2023, exhibition view

Icefall 01&02, 2022, painting on photograph, 160 x 150 cm

2021-2023, exhibition view

2021-2023, exhibition view

A Walk in the Woods, exhibition view

Left: Flourish Green, 2018, C-print, color ink, 140 x 111cm
Right: Growing, 2019, C-print, color ink, 96 x 83cm

Lichens, 2018, C-print, color ink, 164 x 135.5cm

Karen Smith | A Walk in the Woods with Shi Guowei

“So, whilst Shi Guowei may have made a fine photographer, he was also possessed of a strong interest in painting, which could not be denied. Thus, the practice he has adopted and evolved satisfies both interests, offering a neat solution to these parallel concerns. At the same time, it consciously blurs the boundary between painting and photography, undermining the apparent reality of a photograph with the conceptual invention of a painting in ways that are deceptive because they are barely apparent.”