Plastic wings

  • Dates
    2020 - Ongoing
  • Author
  • Location China, China

Plastic Wings bases on myth and pandemic background. It uses varieties of photo creation methods to explore that in personal visual symbolic clues how history repeats and changes on sensuous aspects.

Plastic Wings draws upon the ancient Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. After experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic for a period of time, I re-entered shopping malls in Shanghai and was struck by the many man-made landscapes. Fragility and permanence, predicament and expectation - all sorts of complex and contradictory feelings were bound together, much like the wings of Icarus, which symbolize not only hope but also inevitable destruction. This made me contemplate the ways in which history repeats and changes through sensory aspects.

With these feelings, I frequently walked through the mall, while also re-examining my surrounding environment (both physical and psychological). By restructuring and capturing what I saw and felt, I attempted to translate these hidden emotions into a series of symbols.

In doing so, I uncovered and explained the ambiguity of certain symbols, as well as the complex interrelations between different symbols. In the flexibility of visual symbols, through the process of reconstructing scenes and photographing, the boundary between reality and fiction has become less significant, leaving behind only the emotions that were caught in the labyrinth of structure.


Shi Yan, is an image worker and co-founder of KongKongpress/Pnpress. Originally from Fujian, he graduated from Fudan University with a degree in Philosophy and now lives in Beijing. His photographic approach primarily originates from personal experiences, focuses on creating static tableau images to explore the extensiveness and distinctiveness of individual experiences within public spheres.

He was named one of the 12 emerging artists to watch in 2023 by IMA. His works have been featured in various media and magazines such as Paper Journal,Phroom, Fisheye Magazine, Transference Magazine, IMA, Jiazazhi, Same Paper, and Photography of China. His artist's book "Youth Cultivation Manual 2023" has been collected by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art Library.

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