Sydney Shen: Strange But True

When 28 Apr 2021 - 22 Aug 2021
Where Queens Museum
New York City Building Flushing Meadows Corona Park Queens,
Queens, NY 11368
United States

Sydney Shen creates sculptures and environments that commingle historical and contemporary symbols. For her newly commissioned solo exhibition, Strange But True, Shen has developed an immersive installation that brings together tropes of Noir-inspired investigatory aesthetics, horror cinema, and video game architecture. A topsy-turvy world with outsized objects including projector slides, a plush pencil topper, classified paperwork, and a cantilevered magnifying glass, the installation is mysterious—and situates the viewer as the recipient of an enigmatic letter, tasked with exploring the abandoned, inconclusive research materials on the desk and bulletin board of their disappeared correspondent. Blurring the amusing and the sinister, the uncanny manipulation of scale is complemented with Trompe l’oeil and other slippages of perception and failures of representation. The work explores photography in particular and confronts visitors with the notion that documentation and the study of evidence are biased, constructive acts. Shen aims to situate our current crisis of truth—in the era of AI-assisted echo chambers and fake news—within a legacy of fact-seeking and meaning-making practices that have contributed to biased constructions of values and systems of oppression throughout history.

Sydney Shen (b. 1989, Woodbridge, NJ) lives and works in New York. Shen completed her BFA at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York in 2011. In 2010 she studied in the class of Josephine Pryde at Universität der Künste, Berlin. Her work has been exhibited at venues such as: Gallery Vacancy, Shanghai (2021); Sophie Tappeiner, Vienna (2019); New Museum, New York (2019);  Aldea, Bergen, Norway (2019); Invisible Exports, New York (2019); Deitch Projects, New York (2018); American Medium, New York (2018); Motel, Brooklyn (2017); Aike Dellarco, Shanghai (2017); Springsteen, Baltimore (2017); and Interstate Projects, Brooklyn (2016). Upcoming exhibitions include Museum het Valkhof, Nijmegen, Netherlands (2021); Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden (2021). Shen was a 2019-2020 artist-in-residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program. Shen is co-author of Perfume Area, a book of prose-poetry published by Ambient Press, New York (2015).

This exhibition is organized by Sophia Marisa Lucas, Assistant Curator.

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Image courtesy of the event organizer.