aving grown up during the Cultural Revolution in China, Chen Zhen has lived and worked in Shanghai,New York and Paris. All his work goes beyond the borders commonly marked between Oriental and Western thinking, and even evades systematic classification on the basis of labels commonly associated with art movements.
Deliberately avoiding rigid membership of any group and consolidated expressive languages, Chen Zhen placed a striving for synthesis as the basis for his work, questioning himself, for instance, on the strength and universality of human desire to avoid wars in favour of peaceful mediation.
His direct experiences with the years of the Cultural Revolution, marked by the encounter of Chinese culture and Western society, led him to develop an acute sensitivity towards the theme of the “eternal incomprehension” – as Chen Zhen himself dubbed it – involving in particular anyone seeking dialogue.
In spite of the awareness of the risks of such problems, Chen Zhen never gave up his research on the possibilities of mutual understanding.
Curated by Gerald Matt and Ilse Lafer.
Co-produced by Mart and the Vienna Kunsthalle.