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PRINT May 2007

Chen Zhen

Curated by Gerald Matt

In 2000, Chen Zhen became the first major contemporary Chinese artist to die, at the age of forty-five, ending prematurely a career that had taken him from his native Shanghai to the center of a lively Paris scene. His sculptures—ritual drums, candle-wax-coated chairs, human organs in glass, for example—approach themes of cultural exile through the language of Chinese medicine and spirituality. Gathered here are thirty-five works mostly from his final decade, including large-scale installations from major European collections never before shown together. The retrospective also includes drawings and proposals for Chen’s “unrealized projects,” all of which bear out the artist’s 1997 statement, “I don’t play with incomprehension: I try to create it.” Travels to the Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto next spring.

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