As the tops of the ocean I tower,
As the winds of the air spreading wide,
I am 'stablished in might and dominion and power,
With the universe ranged at my side.
Set Free, the Realm of Poetry by Sikong Tu
What’s the essence of life? Contemporary artist Shi Shaoping is responding the question with his work, The Metamorphosis Series – The Eggs. He had spent a year in Jing De Zhen to fire these 3,000 solid ceramic eggs, each weighing around 10 kilograms. The 48-ton of eggs had then gone through an extraordinary journey which covered some of China's most desolate locations, the rugged Behai coast in Guangxi Province, Yardang landform, the Black Gobi, sand dunes of Dunhuang and the Gannan grassland. The artist is always setting obstacles for himself, whether consciously or unconsciously. He has never stopped looking for a stronger language through the physical and mental experience. The work goes beyond after the exhausted art practice which united man and nature. We would rather call it a movement than a project, one under the name of life, dominated by the nature.
As a loner of contemporary art, Shi Shaoping is obviously more insane than those ordinary explorers. He puts the 3,000 eggs which symbolize the origin and birth, fragility and beauty, circle and regain of life into the broad see, the mysterious castle, the barren ruin and the fertile grassland. How the eggs are gonna develop themselves in these totally different conditions? How they fight? How they reproduce? Will there be butterflies flying out from the eggs or the lives will be caught in the “cocoon” traps? Shaoping is like a fortuneteller who uses the 3,000 giant eggs to remind people of the weight of life. The beauty of the work is the unpredictability, and the unlimited imagination it brings.
The fragile yet vigorous eggs of life emphasizes that we eventually have to respect every single living thing in the universe. The sands may cover the frost-glazed castle; the soaring fallen leaves may blanket the ground. The persistence and power of life, however, will fight against the mediocrity and itself. The contradiction is the language Shaoping’s looking for to express his world of Metamorphosis. This triggers the speculation and discussion on contemporary art and life value.
In their finality, these nature-beaten eggs lay silently on the floor of the exhibition hall. The photographs and videos tell their story. In front of it, every audience is believed to start thinking about their own meaning of life deep inside of heart. Life is like running water, sometimes it is quiet, and sometimes it is wild. There are unfulfilled dreams and helpless confusion lying in the memory of life. The pain of breaking the cocoon and origins during metamorphosis is the embellishment. To free ourselves from bondage, to flap the wings to wave the sea, to fly the accumulated happiness to the end of the world…yet to feel the silent beauty of the sky and earth.