Artist Shao Fan is sculptor and painter, and freely experiments with various media. To the contemporary Chinese design industry however, the name Shao Fan is often immediately associated with his reconstructed, or rather, 'Deconstructed' chairs.
'King' chair by Shao Fan, 1996. Museum no. FE.327-2005, © Shao Fan</p>
The design for this chair has been based on a traditional round chair ('yuan yi'), which is usually associated with high status, reflected also by the position the chair takes in the household.
'Kun' chair by Shao Fan, 1996. Museum no. FE.328-2005, © Shao Fan
The 1990s for China was a transitional period from the traditional to the modern; and also one marked by anxiety. This chair captures the tension between tradition and modernity, where the antique chair parts are counterbalanced with a new frame, meeting but never arriving at fusion, reflecting the contrasts between old lifestyles and new contexts.
'Wei' chair by Shao Fan, 1996. Museum no. FE.330-2005, © Shao Fan
'Wei' is another chair that is created based on the logograph (Chinese character) which conveys the idea 'to protect' or 'to defend'. This chair is formed of parts from a dismantled 'guan mao' (Official's Hat) style chair (so called because of its resemblance to the shape of a scholars' headgear).
'Project No.1 of 2004' chair by Shao Fan, 2004. Museum no. FE.331-2005, © Shao Fan
The playful design captures a moment in time and values that cannot be returned to; yet the 'exploding' chair parts are no longer static and immobile, but given a sense of movement and liberation in its new form.