By Pirelli HangarBicocca

Chen Zhen

Chen Zhen. Short-circuits

Curated by Vicente Todolí

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Jue Chang, Dancing Body – Drumming Mind (The Last Song) (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Short-circuits

“Short-circuits” is conceived as an immersive exploration within the complex artistic research of Chen Zhen (Shanghai, 1955—Paris, 2000), bringing together for the first time some of the artist’s most significant works from 1991 to 2000 in the Navate and Cubo spaces of Pirelli HangarBicocca.

Jue Chang, Dancing Body – Drumming Mind (The Last Song) (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Jue Chang, Dancing Body – Drumming Mind (The Last Song) (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

“Short-circuits” (2020) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Chen Zhen developed his art from the late 1970s. Born and raised in Shanghai, he lived through the Cultural Revolution in China during his adolescence and moved to Paris in 1986. While initially oriented towards painting, he gradually moved towards the creation of installations (creating his first one in 1989). In them, he brought together everyday objects such as beds, chairs, and tables, assembling them in compositions that took the items away from their original functions and into a metaphorical dimension.

Round Table (1995) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

“Short-circuits” (2020) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Chen Zhen’s art paradigmatically reflects his wish to find a visual synthesis that would integrate the aesthetic dimension of his homeland with that of the places he came in contact with, in a constant, fluid exchange between Eastern and Western thought.

“Short-circuits” (2020) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

The title of the exhibition is inspired by the artist’s creative method, which he referred to as a “short-circuit phenomenon”, which is that of revealing the hidden meaning of a work of art when it is taken from the original setting for which it was created to a different place. This process led Chen Zhen to reflect on the concept of symbolic and cultural enrichment as a means of artistic creation.

Le Rite suspendu / mouillé (1991) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Purification Room (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

The idea behind the exhibition reflects this, creating original interactions between the works on display, while also shedding light on the numerous cross-references and connections that appear in the artist’s works, creating an open dialogue on a number of themes: globalization and consumerism, overcoming the hegemony of Western values, and the coming together of different cultures.

Purification Room (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

The Voice of Migrators (1995) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Obsession de longévité (1995) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

His most notable solo exhibitions include those at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2015); Musée Guimet, Paris (2010); Mart – Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento and Rovereto (2008); Kunsthalle Wien (2007); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2003–4); Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC), Milan, and MoMA PS1, New York (2003); Serpentine Gallery, London (2001); GAM – Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin (2000); Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb (2000); Cimaise & Portique, Albi (2000); Tel Aviv Museum of Art (1998); The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1994); Le Magasin, Grenoble (1992).

Le bureau de change (1996-2004) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Six Roots Enfance / Garçon - Childhood / Boy (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Six Roots Enfance / Garçon - Childhood / Boy (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Jardin-Lavoir (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

His works have been included in many group shows at some of the most prestigious institutions, including Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York (2017-18); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2007-08); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris (2000-01); Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (1994); Grand Palais, Paris (1988). The artist has also participated in the 4th Lyon Biennale, 2nd Gwangju Biennale (1997); several editions of the Venice Biennale (2009, 2007, 1999); 3rd Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (1999-2000).

Jardin-Lavoir (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

Jardin-Lavoir (2000) by Chen ZhenPirelli HangarBicocca

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