For The Hallowed Object, a 2016 solo exhibition in Beijing’s Caochangdi art district, Lei Yan displayed seventy-six objects sculpted in paper along a narrow shelf the entire length of a gallery wall. The exhibit also included black-and-white photographs of the objects—some taking representational shape, others uncanny in form—as single pieces or in small groupings. The Chinese title for the series, Shengwu, can also be translated as relic. The reliquary Lei Yan has created, however, does not produce reverence for or the aura of an individual hero. They invoke reflection on cast-off ideals of collectivity and on who or what endures.
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