I don’t play with incomprehension: I try to create it.
The homage to Chen Zhen centers around Jue Chang, Dancing Body – Drumming Mind (Last Song) (2000), a monumental percussion instrument: about a hundred chairs, stools, and beds fitted with animal hides constitute an enormous playing surface challenging visitors to act. This work of communication and cultural confrontation unfolds the artist’s determined utopia of multicultural dialogue.
Chen Zhen (1955–2000) numbers among the most prominent Chinese avant-garde artists, who, disillusioned by post-Maoist reform politics, left China in the mid-eighties. In 1986, he emigrated to Paris where his concept of “open sculpture” received international acclaim.
Chen’s installations are poetical landscapes, unusual material alliances, hybrids that open up passages and new connecting paths between Far Eastern traditions and Western avant-garde movements. He interweaves aspects of his self-chosen exile, his disease, and traditional Chinese medicine to produce metaphorical objects interpreting and resurveying the societal body.
Kunsthalle Wien now shows the first retrospective encompassing all important periods of the artist’s work in Austria, including models and sketches of his unrealized projects, which have never been presented to date. The drawings, photographic works, sculptures, and installations dating from between 1989 and 2000 continue the dialogue between the cultures interrupted by Chen’s untimely death.
Curator: Gerald Matt
Guided tours: every Sunday 3 pm
Educational programs All programs with appointment also in English/French/Italian/Netherlands/Chinese