Chen Wei graduated from Zhejiang University of Media and Communications in 2002. Chen Wei constructs personal narratives using found objects, fabricated props and staged scenes, all of which are meticulously constructed and assembled inside his studio. Evoking recurring motifs, memories and dreams, every image is a fiction and a story in itself. In the fictional scenes of objects, interiors and nocturnal cityscapes, Chen exposes the psychological and socio-political characters of contemporary China: collective yearning for betterment, disillusionment of consumerist desires, and a nostalgia for a haphazardly erased past.
Chen’s recent solo exhibitions include “Chen Wei: The Club” (Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Australia, 2017); “Noon Club” (JNBY Foundation, Hangzhou, 2016) and “Chen Wei: In the Waves” (K11 chi art museum, Shanghai, 2015). Group exhibitions in which Chen has participated include “We Chat: A Dialogue in Contemporary Chinese Art” (Asia Society Texas Center, Houston, USA, 2016); “CHINA 8 – Works in Progress” (Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany, 2015); “Performance and Imagination: Chinese Photography 1911–2014” (Stavanger Art Museum, Stavanger, Norway, 2014); “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice” (Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2013); “The 4th Seoul International Media Art Biennale” (Seoul Museum of Art, Korea, 2006). Chen is the recipient of the Asia Pacific Photography Prize at SH Contemporary in 2011. Chen’s works is collected by Rubell Family Collection (USA); Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Switzerland) and White Rabbit Contemporary Art Collection (Australia).
Chen currently lives and works in Beijing, China.
dance / club / 2013-2015
Meticulously constructed and staged, often in the interior of his studio, Chen Wei’s photographic works resemble less a still life than a vacated tableau vivant, marked by a dramatic and cinematic quality. Chen’s dance / club series originates from the artist’s distrust and doubt of the psychical state of “ecstasy”. By restaging the psychedelic, almost apocalyptic, mis-en-scène of the nightclub, Chen restores a certain space between the real and the virtual, where the mechanism and destination of “ecstasy” are made legible again. Under the rapid current of modernisation and urbanisation, imported music and pop dance culture cease to be the site of sustenance and consolation for the individual to assert its existence and values; the performativity of the reinterpretation of dance reemerges under this dysfunction. Chen utilises an artificial and unstable spatial narrative to capture the collective anxiety and inquietude common in modern life.