Tong (Raine) Shen was born in Tai’an, within the province of Shandong. She works in a wide variety of media: installation, photography, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Her oeuvre casts a critical eye over politics and society in China. She is interested in the merging of contemporary eastern and western culture. Her latest paper installations are 3 meters in height, 9 meters in length, and 3 meters across, and installed between 2 days to 1 week.
Raine thinks of her work as a testing ground, of physical endurance and dedication, and the merging of chance and skill. For the artist, their creation is a performative act, a dialogue with seemingly random, intuitive, unique language of water, ink, and paper. In China, boys were not superior to girls until about the first onset of globalization. With the one-child policy of 1979 to control the bursting population, female infanticide have widely occurred as a response. Paper-cutting has always been a woman’s craft, and smoke (or mists) often associated with death or the passing of souls into the beyond. Raine’s paper-cuts are a metaphor for China’s missing girls; they are a treatment of macabre history still on going.
Raine’s conceptual art is an act of remembrance and revolt which has to do with conflict of identity, of erasure, of suppression, of betrayal. These conflicts become exorcised, leaving a smoke-like apparition of frail yet persisting vitality, and an illusion of motion; a captured moment in time, a ceased progress that refuses to give in.