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b. 1980, China

Chen Wei Biography

The photography/installation works of 31-year old artist Chen Wei illustrate an intricate imagination fascinated with the eccentric and fanciful pursuits of early science, mathematics, alchemy, philosophers and madmen. Taxidermy, broken mirrors, melted wax, bats, bees, deserted bedrooms and found objects become the artist’s tableau. With a meticulous attention to details, Chen Wei creates mesmerising scenes that leave the viewer puzzled by their intricate narrative, fantastic visual impact and odd beauty. In some of the works, the sole human subject resembles an absorbed mad scientist or passionate poet, adding feelings of isolation or estrangement to an already bizarre scene.

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Chen Wei’s creative and contemplative process consists of searching for and compiling myriad fragments of personal memories, and incorporating inspiration and objects from childhood or fantasies imagined juxtaposed with realities found in modern China. Most of the works are sketched and created on location in the artist’s studio and then photographed, with the end result being less about the camera process as it is about the assembly of the elaborate elements that are captured in his works. The spirit and style of Chen Wei’s photography works also point towards a new generation of emerging Chinese artists born in the 1980s who are less focused on political history or obvious social criticisms than personal and intellectual freedoms and the individual’s place in a now modern and developed China. History for them has been obscured by economic and social reforms, and the speed and scale of development is the contemporary China they have witnessed.

Exhibition view: Group Exhibition, Cache: From B to Z, ShanghART, Shanghai (12 April–30 August 2020). Courtesy ShanghART.

Chen Wei Featured Artworks

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Untitled by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiUntitled, 2018Grave on zinc
67 x 84 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
International Hotel by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiInternational Hotel, 2018Archival inkjet print
150 x 225 cm
Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle Contact Gallery
In the Waves 在浪裏 by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiIn the Waves 在浪裏, 2013Photograph on lightbox
100 x 80.5 x 12 cm
Tai Kwun Contemporary
Yesterday Shop 昨日商店 by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiYesterday Shop 昨日商店, 2014Archival inkjet print
150 x 187.5 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Silent Balls by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiSilent Balls, 2014Archival inkjet print
150 x 187.5 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Light A Candle (Size A) 蜡烛 by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiLight A Candle (Size A) 蜡烛, 2011Archival inkjet print
100 x 75 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Fresh Paint by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiFresh Paint, 2017Archival inkjet print
150 x 187.5 cm
ShanghART Contact Gallery
Ballons by Chen Wei contemporary artwork
Chen WeiBallons, 2013c-print
100 x 125 x 4 cm (incl frame)
A2Z Art Gallery Contact Gallery

Chen Wei Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Cache: From B to Z at ShanghART, Shanghai
Open Now
12 April–30 August 2020 Group Exhibition Cache: From B to Z ShanghARTWestbund, Shanghai
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Winter Group Exhibition at ShanghART, Beijing
Closed
27 December 2019–16 February 2020 Group Exhibition Winter Group Exhibition ShanghARTBeijing

Chen Wei Represented By

ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Singapore ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore

Chen Wei In Ocula Magazine

Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See Ocula Report Sydney Lowdown: Exhibitions to See By Elyse Goldfinch, Sydney

The fifth edition of Sydney Contemporary will take place once again at Carriageworks between 12 and 15 September 2019, with Spring 1883 bringing together a cohort of 27 galleries from across Australia and the region to inhabit rooms at the Establishment Hotel from 11 to 14 September 2019, uniquely presenting contemporary works propped up on...

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Chen Wei Ocula Conversation Chen Wei By Sam Gaskin, Beijing

A pair of glasses with the lenses blown out, as if the viewer has seen something so hot his eyeballs exploded. A folding chair in a cell spattered with hurled tomatoes; an accomplice in the execution of a clown. Chinese photographer Chen Wei made his name staging and photographing scenes like these—sets from films that don't exist; stories...

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Chen Wei In Related Press

Preview: 8 highlights from Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair and West Bund Art and Design Related Press Preview: 8 highlights from Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair and West Bund Art and Design 8 November 2016, Art Radar Journal

November is a big month for Shanghai. From 10 to 13 November 2016, ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair will open its doors at the Shanghai Exhibition Center. Now in its fourth year, the fair is an officially sanctioned project of the 18th China Shanghai International Arts Festival and includes the participation of 84 galleries from 18 countries...

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Q&A: Chen Wei Related Press Q&A: Chen Wei 3 February 2016, Randian

Known for his constructed environments and his use of a variety of different props—suitcases, shards of mirror and, most strikingly, taxidermied animals—Chen Wei is unlike some earlier contemporary photographers in the Chinese art scene who focus more on the documentation of performances and installations. His cinematic photos...

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