Jean Shin is nationally recognized for her monumental installations that transform castoff materials into elegant expressions of identity and community. Working in a variety of mediums, she collects vast accumulations of singular objects—prescription pill bottles, sports trophies, sweaters—which she alters into conceptually rich sculptures, videos and site-specific installations. Distinguished by her meticulous, labor intensive process of amassing her materials from various communities, her arresting installations reflect the individuals’ personal lives as well as collective issues that we face as a society.
Prescription bottles, mirror, and epoxy
Installation at University Art Museum, Albany, NY
To create this work, thousands of empty prescription pill bottles were collected from nursing homes, pharmacies and individuals’ medicine cabinets. The towering arrangement of the pill bottles suggests natural forms that embody a kind of fragility and bold defiance. Like stalactites and stalagmites, the constructions hang down from above and grow upwards from the floor below. Chemical Balance speaks to our culture’s over-consumption of prescription drugs and our bodies’ dependency on these medications. The piece acts like a group portrait, mapping our society’s chemical intake.
In Collaboration with architect Brian Ripel
Empty wine bottles and silicone
Installed by the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA for Permanent Collection
In order to transform the viewer’s perception and experience of architecture, hundreds of colorful glass bottles are laid on their sides and carefully fitted into one of two entrances to the gallery. The installation creates a dense wall of color out of the former passageway. Viewed from inside the gallery, the blocked entrance resembles an illuminated stained glass window. The wine bottles were collected from the local Columbia Vineyards and wine bars near Tacoma where the museum is located.
Neckties and existing chain-link fence
6 ft h x 20 ft w
Installation at Artspace, New Haven, CT
The artist has collected thousands of old and used neckties and woven them into the mesh of a chain-link fence. Located in front of a vacant lot, the dense wall of ties is carefully arranged to show the varieties of color, pattern, and fabric. This symbol of the white-collar worker contrasts sharply with the depressed, urban setting where the piece was installed. By juxtaposing luxurious ties with the industrial chain-link fence, the installation brings attention to barriers that separate and divide us, speaking to issues of power, gender, public and private.
Cut fabric (clothing)
Seams (4 Shirts), 1998
Seams (Green Dress with Pleats), 2003
Seams (Spring Dress), 2003