Tim Shaw explores topics ‘Beyond Reason’


With socially explosive topics, such as global terrorism, artificial intelligence, and freedom of speech, on the minds of everyone from millennials to Baby Boomers. In response, artist Tim Shaw is tackling these subjects at the San Diego Museum of Art’s fall exhibition.

Launching his first show in the United States on Saturday, Oct. 20, Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason is a set of six multi-sensory installations set to challenge the viewer and involve them in some of the most divisive issues in today’s society.

“Tim Shaw’s work elicits important questions regarding the civics of today,” said San Diego Museum of Art’s Maruja Baldwin Executive Director, Roxana Velásquez. “To create these dialogues is an essential role of art and its ability to propel individuals to achieve new levels of the human experience.”

A Northern Ireland sculptor, Shaw is internationally known for creating large scale works that draw from his own experiences, including the exhibition’s Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous. This installation is based on a childhood memory of Bloody Friday and a Belfast cafe bombing in 1972. Focusing on the victims trapped between warring factions, the work invites guests to walk through a blue fog while trays spin in midair and chairs and tables are upturned in the space.

Soul Snatcher Possession challenges visitors with images of confrontation between eight life-size figures in a dimly lit room, eliciting conversations about abuse of power and the individual potential for moral corruption.

Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason is provocative and unlike any other contemporary exhibition the Museum has shown before,” added Anita Feldman, deputy director for Curatorial Affairs and Education at The San Diego Museum of Art. “In the daily lives of many of us, there is a sense that we are cocooned from global events. Mr. Shaw’s work draws us closer to the reality of these conflicts, daring us to engage with them, challenging us to ask questions about society’s role or silent complicity.”

In Birth of Breakdown Clown, Shaw combines artificial intelligence with robotics in mixed-media sculpture. The robot talks directly to museum guests about the human condition and the conflicting moralities people experience living in contemporary society.

Alongside the exhibition, the museum will be releasing a publication with an artist interview and scholarly essays. On Oct. 19, a panel discussion with Shaw and a variety of speakers will cover the topic of art and its social and political implications in contemporary society.

Ringing in the new year on Jan. 25, SDMA will host a pop-up performance by Art of Élan and a screening of the 2002 Irish film Bloody Sunday, which documents the events leading up to unarmed Irish civilians participating in a civil rights protest march in Derry, Northern Ireland and being fired upon by British soldiers, resulting in 30 victims, including 13 dead and 17 wounded.

Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason

When: Oct. 20 through Feb. 24

Where: 1450 El Prado, Balboa Park

More info: 619.232.7931 or