Born and raised in Shanghai, China, Shen Wei is based in New York City. He holds an MFA in photography, video, and related media from the School of Visual Arts, New York; and a BFA in photography from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Shen Wei is known for his intimate portraits of others and himself, as well as his poetic landscape and still-life photography. He also works on video, performance, and mixed-media art. Wei’s attention to the interactions of darkness and light, and negative or void spaces gives these hidden forces tangible form, drawing from the philosophical treatment of emptiness as solid space often found in Chinese painting. The interplay of positive and negative elements also articulates oppositional emotional states of fear, attraction, joy, loneliness and absence. Responding to his conservative upbringing in Shanghai, Wei’s self-portraits, nudes and sensuous landscape photographs explore notions of identity, memory and sexuality.
Shen Wei has been exhibited internationally, with venues including the Museum of the City of New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the He Xiangning Art Museum. His work has been featured in publications such as The New Yorker, Aperture, ARTnews, American Photo, EXIT, Photo District News, and Wall Street Journal.
Shen Wei's work is included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, the Library of Congress, the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Museum of Chinese in America, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Kinsey Institute. He is a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Arts Residency, the Asian Cultural Council Arts & Religion Fellowship, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Grant, and the Urban Artist Initiative NYC Fellowship.