THE WINDOW OF ARTS: November 2015 issue
Column: “Adventures of the eyes”
“Portrait of an ancient civilization and a carved message”
Why did I want to display Shii’s work in this space? There is only one reason.
Because I was completely captivated by her obsession with the quality of materials that she has un-waveringly used in her works from the outset.
If she is able to believe in this so resolutely,
there is no doubt that over time her work will become further refined.
Awkwardness does not necessarily give a negative impression.
It can also work as a dynamo that transforms into something positive. Aside from painting,
she also works with collage and mixed media techniques. Compared with collagist work, mixed me-dia unfortunately appears to have slowed down since its energetic peak at the end of the 20th cent-ury. However, she has made excellent use of computers to the extent that she is now known as a
“mixed media artist”. What is it that brings such devotion to material construction and image forming? The artist herself quickly evades the question, saying that it is for “no special reason”,
but it must at least in part be connected to her work on package design at a food company after
graduating from art school.
Shii’s mixed media works all draw attention to the light and shade of historical ruins from ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome, and the deciphering of messages engraved on those ruins,
which are then digitalized and sublimated into highlevel beauty while being brought together and
into opposition with one another in modern multistoried spaces. Ruins that Shii has sketched and photographed in the actual locations are treated using computers before being printed out with
silver halide laser technology, which is highly durable and has excellent color expression.
Layered acrylic plates are laseretched with the characters that were engraved on the ruins.
It is highly impressive how portraits of ancient cities and models of carved messages are linked
and suspended in modern-day, complex multilevel spaces.
About the displayed work, “Damnatio Memoriae (condemnation of memory)”: In ancient Rome,
there was said to be a notion of “condemnation of memory” in which the very existence of an emperor could be erased. The names and achievements that had been carved onto stone monuments were apparently replaced with other text. Taking as her theme the traces of condemnation of memory
found on the Arch of Septimius Severus in the ruins of the Roman Forum,
Shii has produced a reproduction with the name of the emperor Geta restored.