Lecture Series


The Courtauld Institute of Art, London
6-8pm, 11.03.2024

Shen Xin, ས་གཞི་སྔོན་པོ་འགྱུར། (The Earth Turned Green), 2022. Courtesy of artist

Shen Xin is an artist and storyteller who uses video, sound, installation and performance to tell ‘embodied stories’ about forms of inhabitance and dwelling – how we live with others in the places we take shelter and refuge in, as well as the migratory journeys (of people, animals, objects, memories, words and systems of belief) to and from these sites. Shen’s docu-fictional, essayistic videos focus on diverse geographies, localities and their inhabitants, ranging from a lovers attempt in conversing through spiritual practice and technocratic power structures in South Korea (Provocation of the Nightingale, 2017), a couple’s inquiry at the Samye Ling Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland (Strongholds, 2016), the father-daughter-relationship experienced through a decolonial lens in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China (Counting Blessing, 2014).

Shen has recently relocated to the Isle of Skye in Scotland, where in the company of buzzards, seals and sheep, they are completing their most recent film, Solar Wheels (2024), which explores the migration and repatriation of wild horses in two other remote locations: the Elegasi Qayus preserve and Xeni Gwet’in First Nation territory and the Uyghur Autonomous Region in Northwest China.

In this talk, Shen will discuss their artistic process and practice of ‘embodied storytelling’, and share excerpts from their recent videos, including Solar Wheels (2024), their ongoing series Grounds of Coherence (2023-present) and ས་གཞི་སྔོན་པོ་འགྱུར། (The Earth Turned Green, 2022).


This is the first event in The Asymmetry Distinguished Lecture Series 2024, ‘Critical Habitats’, convened by Dr Wenny Teo, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art at The Courtauld, and Michèle Ruo Yi Landolt, Director at Asymmetry Art Foundation.


Shen Xin (b. 1990, Chengdu) is a storyteller, maker of moving images, paintings, performance and sound. Born in Chengdu, Sichuan, they live in An t-eilean Sgitheanach (Isle of Skye) with their life partner Ali Van, and with their family in Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota). Their solo presentations include: but this is the language we met in (Richmond Art Gallery, BC, 2024); one, arriving at floodplains (MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, 2023); Brine Lake (A New Body) (M HKA, Antwerp, 2023; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2021), and ས་གཞི་སྔོན་པོ་འགྱུར། (The Earth Turned Green) (KUNSTVEREIN GARTENHAUS, Vienna, 2023; Swiss Institute, New York, 2022). Their group exhibitions include Cosmos Cinema (14th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, 2023); This Too, is a Map (12th Seoul Mediacity Biennale, 2023); Language is a River (MUMA, Melbourne, 2021); Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning (Gwangju Biennale, 2021); Sigg Prize (M+ Museum, Hong Kong, 2019); and Songs for Sabotage (New Museum Triennial, New York, 2018). They received the BALTIC Artists’ Award (2017) and held the Rijksakademie residency in Amsterdam (2018-19).