Hiroshi Shinno (b. Kyoto, Japan 1979) can make a plastic mold of a flower’s stamen, no more than a millimeter in diameter an half a centimeter long. He can cast barely perceptible seeds, shells so thin that they are translucent, and dry, holey leaves that disintegrate under the slightest pressure. Through the classical sculptural technique of casting and molding, Shinno has replicated dozens of different plant parts from the hundreds upon hundreds that he has gathered over the last four years; these are mostly the extraordinarily delicate kinds of things that travel on the wind in spring, that grow, function and die within days, the tiny mechanical parts from the microcosms which we mostly forget, some of the smallest whole units of the plant kingdom.
From these plant pieces, the artist has constructed nineteen sculptures of imaginary insects. These are completely fantastical, the product of the artist’s fancy, his observation, and his intuition, and yet they are seamlessly convincing biological objects. They strike one as neither living creatures nor not, but as something conceived outside of the question of life.
In this work, the artistry of Shinno’s technique as a sculptor is placed at fierce odds with the intensity of his vision as a poet, so that a dialectic journey is made available to the viewer. One can pass through successive phases, first marveling over the accomplishment, then on to comprehending the artist's unique and powerfully expressed apprehension of the world, and finally to an expanded and refreshed personal apperception of reality itself. For what one ultimately feels before this art is not so much that one is looking at something real, as that one is before Nature; one looks and catches the glimmer of new light in the dulled notion that we in fact dwell in a world of thin appearances, knowing nothing.
Insects is an extraordinary achievement. It is Hiroshi Shinno’s first solo exhibition, following directly upon his graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he took first prize for his diploma, The exhibition will be on view at Song Song from today, the 22nd of August until the 18th September.