Created and Sold by Shan Shan Sheng

Shan Shan Sheng
Active Memory | Sculptures by Shan Shan Sheng | Betty Ong Rec Center in San Francisco

Active Memory - Sculptures

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Item details

Shanghai native Shan Shan Sheng created "Active Memory" (Venetian hand-blown glass, stainless steel; 8' x 18' x 5'; 2012)
specifically for the Betty Ong Rec Center’s entrance lobby.

The suspension sculpture is a cascade of red Chinese calligraphy that showers visitors upon entry, using language to address the unique Chinese American experience in San Francisco and California. The artist handmade the glass characters so that they look handwritten. The sculpture’s form, vertical flows of narrative, was inspired by traditional Chinese landscape paintings, which are often inscribed with poems.

The sculpture itself is comprised of five poems, two of which are by renowned poets Bai Juyi (772-846) and Li Bai (701-762) of the Tang Dynasty and a poem by Su Shi (1036-1101) of the Song Dynasty. The other poems include an early twentieth-century poem by an anonymous immigrant about his experience on Angel Island, and the last is by the artist, with key words describing the lives of Chinese immigrants in the Bay Area: “gold rush,” “railroad track,” and “computer” invoke the memory of travel, labor and the transformation of America.”

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