About Chen Zhen
With his own experience of exile - of being in the state of what he called "Transexperience" - Chen Zhen's works is very much about interaction - about relationships across the globe - about mutual respect and understanding of different cultures.
Thus when his piece "Jue Chang" - 50 Strokes to Each was shown at the Venice Biennial in 1999 people from all over the world were meeting, smiling and enjoying beating the drums.
Also in this context - his famous large "Round Table" made for the United Nations 50th anniversary - has almost become a signature piece of his - because he - even before it became the order of the day in the academic world - addressed urgent questions of post-colonialism and globalisation - cultural meetings and conflicts.
Chen Zhen travelled around the globe - and did several projects with various communities of people. Among them his stays in Brazil - where he involved children from the city of Salvador in a project of awareness of their social fabric.
With his own illness and coming from a family of doctors - clearly medicine played an important role in his art.
The body - cocoons, organs, skin, and medicine are common references - as with the beautiful "Crystal Landscape of Inner Body" - made of pieces of clear blown glass shaped as internal organs.
Chen Zhen often addressed the opposing approaches in Eastern and Western medicine - like he often used Buddhist spirituality - the bipolar dialectic of yin and yang - and always connecting the material/and the spiritual - the body/and the mind.
Chen Zhen's work reflects his fascination with different cultures, social contexts and aesthetic approaches in an increasingly globalized world.