Chen Zhen

Éric Hussenot

Chinese artist Chen Zhen’s Champ de désinfection (Field of purification, 1995) transformed the exhibition space into a trajectory that mirrored the artist’s journey from his native China to France. At the entrance a modest cabin made of wood disrupted one’s usual course through the gallery. Inside its cramped interior, intravenous bottles filled with mud hung next to a bed and a table, as though someone had just been given a soil infusion. The cabin had the standard dimensions of a Parisian maid’s room, evoking the one in which Zhen lived for almost four years when he first arrived in Paris. It seemed to serve as a metaphor for the body as well for the artist’s relationship to the world—a relationship comprised of the dialogues, conflicts, and strange misunderstandings that often result from the collision of two radically different cultures and ideologies.

After passing through the cabin

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