Portrait of Shepherd


1/2015, H:64x W:54, H: 25 x W: 21(inch), Graphite, acrylic, LED matrix on paper

The notion of time is a convenient measurement of our existence. The elderly man as a shepherd, who leads groups and communities of people and cattles – is symbolized here as ‘history’ and ‘convention’. The three LED segments that count numbers from 000 to 999 in his chest represent human-invention of time, which technological digitalization set it countable and visible. All the existences in this world receive ‘time’ – it is fair and inevitable. Even existences are finite, notion of time is infinite and it is a principle law of nature that nobody can break, touch and change. In this sense, our physical existences are like caught up in an invisible structure of absolute order, so as the shepherd – a symbol of finite.


The old man’s portrait also resembles the Roman portraitures, in which Roman politician’s noses are broken due to the political change. Like these damages caused by political activism, the shepherd’s nose is depicted in the work like stone broken nose, which implicate shift of orders and rules as time goes. It also implies two reversed sides of new and old – unchangeable-law-of-nature and changing-invention-of-order: both are closely connected and the whole figure with the counting numbers becomes a metaphor of the life cycle – starting from 0 and stopping at 999, then continuously going back to the beginning.

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