Snapshots of an ongoing Society. Chen Zhen @ RAM

The cozy Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai presents a nice retrospective of the great Chen Zhen.

Chen Zhen, RAM Shanghai, 2015, Photo by L.R.
Chen Zhen, RAM Shanghai, 2015, Photo by L.R.

Chen Zhen is a superstar in the Art world, one of the first artist moved in Europe during the 80’s, he worked especially in Paris and New York. Painter, sculptor and tremendous thinker, at the end of his short career he’s been able to mix western ideals and chinese culture in some spectacular ways.

RAM sets a wonderful exhibition diveded all around his various floors. We start, at the first floor, with an emotional mold on the artist’s studio, stopped, almost kidnaped in a ordinary moment of his life, like an eternal snapshot of a place whitout time as the Artist’s studio. Life and time go on but the Artist’s studio like creativity’s credle remains, immovable and moving at the same time.

Great work is Le Bureau de Change, begun on 1996. A huge public toilet made of wood pretend to be the Stock Echange, a wise and deep interpretation of the chinese economic Boom, the toilet never stops and the water flow seems like the daily money flow of the Stock Market.

I’ve loved the huge installation called Precipitous Parturition (1999), to me one of the most intimate work based on the caotic Chinese metropolis development. An enormous hungry monster, like a biblical Leviathan, made of inner tubes of bicycles hang from the ceiling while is eating bicycle’s wreckages. The monster is insatiable and she’ll never stop to eat because of her ongoing

Chen Zhen, RAM Shanghai, 2015, Photo by L.R.
Chen Zhen, RAM Shanghai, 2015, Photo by L.R.

pregnancy, she’s breeding Chaos and black disorder under the appearance of millions of automobiles. These cars splash out from her body and begin to run all over the monster so that the entire body, made of inner tubes seems like an endless highway. Simply amazing!

It’s not a case that this installations would be surrounded by the work called Social Investigation-Shanghai No.1 (1997), a photographic documentation of the high-speeded Shanghai development made of 47 framed photos and documents of the town taken in the last 90’s. A huge and ongoing growth, an unstoppable-chaos-producer monster.

Anyway, the exhibition is well organized and breath-taking in some parts. Chen Zhen way of look at chinese development, and especially Shanghai’s development (nis hometown) is such amazing, past and present, ancient and “future” are connected in a messy contemporaneity made of remains and memory’s snapshots.



Chen Zhen: Without Going to New York and Paris, Life Could Be Internationalized

RAM, Shanghai, PRC

May.30.2015 – October.07.2015

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