Born in Shanghai, Chen was an art student during the oppression of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976) and became an art professor before moving to Paris in 1986. From then on Chen created sculptures and installations with a self-reflexive outlook, exploring his identity as a Chinese artist living in Europe.
Frith Street Gallery London exhibition
This contemporary art show’s unique feature is how the legacies of Eastern and Western traditions collide in Chen’s work. In Lumière Innocente (2000), a child-size bed is wrapped with transparent plastic tubes that contain light-bulbs, making the entire work resemble a glowing cocoon. For Chen, the invalid’s bed symbolizes his own experience of chronic illness in youth. It also refers to Chen’s fascination with medicine within the larger relationship between art and philosophy, a constant central focus throughout his work.
In another significant late work, Crystal Landscape of the Inner Body (2000), pieces of blown glass shaped like human organs are placed across twelve examination beds. By exposing the inner body like this, Chen reminds us that we are no more than corporeal matter – the choice of glass a particular nod to human fragility. However, as the poised calm of the installation makes clear, Chen’s work also offers us a reminder of the necessity to preserve health no matter our weaknesses – both as individuals and as part of society.
Don’t miss this rare and intriguing exhibition in London of one of the first artists to emerge from post-Revolutionary China, whose artistic voice has become a major influence in the art world.
|What||Chen Zhen, Frith Street Gallery|
|Where||Frith Street Gallery, 17-18 Golden Square, London, W1F 9JJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Piccadilly Circus (underground)|
09 Jul 15 – 14 Aug 15, Tuesday to Friday 10am—6pm | Saturday 11am—5pm or by appointment
|Website||Click here for more details|