Jin Shien's works are embedded in the surreal realm of "Ragnarök."1 In Norse mythology, the surviving gods and humans build a new world after going through a series of disasters and revolutionary upheavals. In this visual universe created by Shien, his works are mostly artificial creations made of images, evoking bizarre tales in the fantastic realm using reconstructed materials. They transcend Shien's immediate experience and feelings, as gods and ghosts take on different guises and walk with humans in both the wilderness and the urban landscape.
The first half of the exhibition resembles the beginning of the universe, where everything is expanding, and then explodes and reforms in an instant in infinite space-time. All things in heaven and on earth are merged as the blazing sun sinks into the horizon and the burning trees take on the form of man. Concrete beings like humans or frogs are vividly displayed in the limited space. They are interconnected and create a pluralistic order.
In another area of the exhibition, numerous spirits manifest in semi-invisible forms in the dark, making subtle connections and extending themselves in the unseen. We see the mountain spirit accompanied by electric waves, the flowing water juxtaposed with coins that stand in for human traces, and other images that all seem to point toward a guiding force that is beyond actual time and space. We also see the sunken head of a beast on the island and a warship suspended above a desolate land, all interrelated on the horizon of the universe. The energy of God is secretly in charge, directing the infinite wheel of life. The symbolic subjects in these works are sometimes revealed and sometimes blurred, creating a rather illusory world.
Shien inserts various symbolic subjects in an effort to make sense of his worldview and to make sense of the chaos in his self-consciousness. His bizarre and fantastic world blurs the line between physical and virtual space, illuminating the existence of individual experience and the imagination of multiple dimensions amid the chaos. This creative process is a constant struggle between the self and the outside world and thus fosters new perspectives on the past from a personal timeline. These cumulative energies create a mystical and spiritual metaphor that leads viewers through various contexts and sheds light on the odd connections between the universe and the human mind.
Note：1. Ragnarok, or Ragnarök in Norwegian, is a reference to the prophecy of the Battle of Armageddon in Norse mythology.