Air Force Oil on canvas Titled 'Air' Signed Shen Jingdong in English, Jingdong in Chinese Dated 2007 180cm x 120cm (70¾in x 47¼in).
Provenance: ChinaSquare, New York Private collection, New York
Exhibited: 'Hero: Shen Jingdong', ChinaSquare, New York, 5 August to 30 August 2008
Published: Shiner, Eric C., Hero: Shen Jingdong, ChinaSquare, New York, 2008, p.46
沈敬東 人皆英雄 油彩畫布 二〇〇七年作
簽名：空 SHEN JINGDONG 敬東 2007
來源： 美國紐約中國廣場 紐約私人收藏
"Trained as an artist at Nanjing Art College, Shen was himself drafted into the Chinese military in 1991 where he was assigned to serve in the Military Drama Troupe. As a result of this fortuitous placement, he went on to help produce plays and musicals fully dedicated to singing the praises of Communism and its military machine, albeit with a heavy dose of theatricality and pomp. Shen returned to painting after serving out his enlisted term, after establishing himself as a talented painter and sculptor, in recent years he has set about painting the very things that he had been surrounded by for those years spent in the military: soldiers. And, as noted above, the depiction of Communist soldiers have popped up now and again in Chinese contemporary painting, especially in the genre known as Social Realism, but Shen Jingdong presents his soldiers in a most gleaming light. For him, soldiers are not rough and tumble killing machines, but instead shining lollipops and objects of consumptiontoys that can be manipulated and played with at will.
In Shen's paintings, soldiers-and at times laborers and farmersfeature fresh faces that have been seemingly cast in plastic. These smiling faces seem to be utterly brand newwhite paint is used to mimic the reflections of light in their cheeks and chins as if these products of the new China have just rolled off the assembly line. And perhaps this is the most pressing point of Shen Jingdong's workhe not only represents the historic imagery of Communist China (however in a new light), but also, and more importantly, nods to the growing economic power, reform and future-centric thinking of China in the first decade of the 21st century."
Shiner, Eric C. 'Shen Jingdong's Toy Soldiers' in Hero: Shen Jingdong, ChinaSquare, New York, 2008, p.4