(1955 – 2000), China

Chen Zhen Biography

Chen Zhen is one of the protagonists of our times, whose work, the essential spirit of which is encapsulated in the notion of “transexpérience”, is a fine example of pluralism in art. After training as an artist in the period of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Chen Zhen lived and worked between Shanghai, New York and Paris, moving to the French capital in 1986. Constantly traversing boundaries, he operated in an area between Eastern and Western thought, privileging synergy rather than clear-cut choice and rigid classification.

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Chen Zhen’s art deals with many issues, ranging from international politics to the life of the individual, and in his artistic practice he searched for a visual synthesis which clearly expressed, especially from an aesthetic point of view, the need to be understood in a world with different perspectives from those that had surrounded him as he grew up, and the desire to mix Chinese culture with that of the nations he was becoming familiar with. It was for this reason that Chen Zhen, who was initially oriented towards painting, later began to concentrate on installations. He started to assemble everyday objects like beds, chairs, tables, chamber pots, cots and mattresses, which he rescued from oblivion and reconverted, giving them a new life.

However, in contrast with their original function, the objects were no longer practical for human use. The spirit shaping these works is rooted in ancient Taoist philosophy – where Yin and Yang represent two sides of the same whole -, and he explored the path of Buddhist spirituality without, however, ignoring the scientific and rational culture of the Western world. A key concern in Chen Zhen’s work was also an investigation of the difference between the Eastern and the Western approach to medicine; this emerges in a number of works dealing with the care and treatment of the human body, where the body is viewed as an interior landscape, as an organism that works if its various elements interrelate harmoniously.

Chen Zhen often did projects in unusual places and contexts, seeking the direct involvement of the local population; for instance, he worked with the children of Salvador de Bahia; in the poor, black neighbourhoods of Houston; and with the Shaker community in Maine. Chen Zhen’s work has been exhibited extensively around the world. 

Chen Zhen
featured artworks

Chaise de concentration by Chen Zhen contemporary artwork sculpture, installation
Chen Zhen Chaise de concentration, 1998 Wooden chair, Chinese chamber pots, sound system, wire, metal aperture, screws and electrical tape
174 x 108 x 54 cm
Not for sale
DE SARTHE
Instrument Musical by Chen Zhen contemporary artwork sculpture
Chen Zhen Instrument Musical, 1999-2000 Wood, metal, Chinese chamber pots, sound system
70 x 120 x 49 cm
DE SARTHE Request Price & Availability
Opening of a Closed Center by Chen Zhen contemporary artwork mixed media
Chen Zhen Opening of a Closed Center, 1997 Wood, metal, found objects, and furniture
250 x 345 x 300 cm
Not for sale
DE SARTHE
Daily Incanations by Chen Zhen contemporary artwork installation
Chen Zhen Daily Incanations, 1996 Wood, metal, Chinese chamber pots, electric wires, residues of electrical and electronic objects, sound system
230 x 700 x 350 cm
Not for sale
DE SARTHE
Le Sommeil Profond (Serie)The DEEP SLEEP SERIES by Chen Zhen contemporary artwork mixed media
Chen Zhen Le Sommeil Profond (Serie)The DEEP SLEEP SERIES, 1992 Water, sand, metal, wood, plexiglass, glass, objects, rice paper
130 x 60 x 25 cm
DE SARTHE Request Price & Availability

Chen Zhen
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DE SARTHE contemporary art gallery in DE SARTHE, Hong Kong
DE SARTHE Hong Kong, Beijing, Scottsdale

Chen Zhen in
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