Shen Wei

Red Marker Number 1

November 24, 2020 - June 28, 2021
Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade

For his work on the Museum’s Ann H. Fitzpatrick Façade, Shen Wei reimagines an image from Passion Spirit, a new film comissioned by the Gardner. The figure in red embodies passion, and the marks around her conjure a sense of her body’s movement within a still frame. Suspended in time and space, she fully expresses her essence while gesturing towards something more: a search for her spiritual half.

Red Marker Number 1 is part of Shen Wei: Painting in Motion, a single exhibition in three parts which unfolds across the Museum. In addition to the Museum’s Façade, Calderwood Hall and the Fenway Gallery will serve as screening rooms for Shen Wei’s films, and the Hostetter Gallery contains Shen Wei’s recent paintings, including two works he created at the Gardner Museum as an Artist-in-Residence, alongside his notebooks, sketches, and documentation of his choreography.

The Museum’s Anne H. Fitzpatrick Façade at the front of the building featuring Shen Wei's Red Marker Number 1

Shen Wei: Red Marker Number 1, 2020 Artist rendering

About the Artist

Born in Hunan in 1968, Shen Wei grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China (1966–76). He began formal opera training in 1978 at age nine. Involving dance, acrobatics, voice, and acting, Chinese opera was Shen Wei’s earliest experience in multidisciplinary approaches.

Shen Wei moved to Brooklyn in 1995, where he immersed himself in the cultural life of New York City and soon turned his attention to film, while continuing to pursue innovations in dance theory, commissioned choreography, and painting throughout the 1990s.

Shen Wei founded Shen Wei Dance Arts in 2000 and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007. In 2008, Shen Wei gained world fame with his choreography for the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games. He has been awarded multiple residencies and commissions from a range of organizations, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Lincoln Center, and the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. In 2018, a solo exhibition of Shen Wei’s work was presented at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, offering viewers one of the first comprehensive looks at Shen Wei’s interconnected approach and work from the 1990s to the present day.

Over the past decade, Shen Wei has continued to move fluidly between painting, design, film, and dance with performative installations, abstract paintings, and multimedia dance productions. He explored these practices as an Artist-in-Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum during the summer months of 2018 and 2019.



Explore the full exhibition:

Shen Wei: Painting in Motion

Shen Wei: Painting in Motion is supported by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and members of the Friends of Fenway Court Patron Program. Support for Shen Wei's Residency and the Artist-in-Residence program has been provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Barbara Lee Program Fund. Community programs created in partnership with the Pao Arts Center and Chinese Folk Art Workshop are made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and Barr Foundation ArtsAmplified initiative. The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Media sponsor: WBUR