Chen Zhen: Short-circuits at Pirelli HangarBicocca, October 15, 2020 – February 21, 2021

“Pirelli HangarBicocca presents Short-circuits a retrospective exhibition curated by Vicente Todolí, devoted to Chen Zhen, one of the leading figures of contemporary art. Celebrated by the world’s most important museums, the artist managed to bridge the gap between the art of the East and that of the West, with works of great visual impact that anticipated the socio-political complexities of today, addressing themes such as globalisation and consumerism, and their relationship with tradition. The exhibition is a journey through some of the artist’s most important works, which convey the idea of the interdependence between the material and spiritual world, through reflections on the curative and purifying action of art and on the metaphorical processes of illness and healing.

The title of the exhibition is inspired by the artist’s creative method, which he referred to as a ‘short-circuit phenomenon’, which is that of revealing the hidden meaning of a work of art when it is taken from the original setting for which it was created to a different place. This process led Chen Zhen to reflect on the concept of symbolic and cultural enrichment as a means of artistic creation. The idea behind the exhibition reflects this, creating original interactions between the works on display, while also shedding light on the numerous cross-references and connections that appear in the artist’s works, creating an open dialogue on a number of themes: globalisation and consumerism, overcoming the hegemony of Western values, and the coming together of different cultures.” — Pirelli HangarBicocca

Chen Zhen. Jue Chang, Dancing Body – Drumming Mind (The Last Song), 2000. Installation view, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 2007. Collection Pinault. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Ela Bialkowska
Chen Zhen. Jue Chang, Dancing Body – Drumming Mind (The Last Song), 2000. Installation view, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, 2007. Collection Pinault. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Ela Bialkowska
Chen Zhen. Éruption future, 1992. Installation view, Centre d’art contemporain de Saint- Rémy-de-Provence, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, 1992. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Éric Angels
Chen Zhen. Fu Dao / Fu Dao, Upside-down Buddha / Arrival at Good Fortune, 1997. Installation view, CCA – Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, 1997. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Chen Zhen
Chen Zhen. Nightly Imprecations,1999. Installation view, Art & Public, Geneva, 2000. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Courtesy Art & Public, Geneva
Chen Zhen. Daily Incantations, 1996. Installation view, Deitch Projects, New York, 1996. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Tom Powell
Chen Zhen. Le Chemin / Le Radeau de l’écriture, 1991 (detail). Installation view, Centre lotois d’art contemporain, Figeac,1991. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Éric Angels
Chen Zhen. Purification Room, 2000 (detail). Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
Chen Zhe. Prayer Wheel – “Money makes the Mare Go” (Chinese slang), 1997 (detail). Installation view, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 1997-1998. Collection Pinault. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Chen Zhen
Chen Zhen. Le Rite suspendu / mouillé, 1991. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Ela Bialkowska
Chen Zhen. Jardin-Lavoir, 2000. Installation view, Galleria Continua, Havana, 2017-2018. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Nestor Kim
Chen Zhen. Jardin-Lavoir, 2000 (detail). Installation view, Galleria Continua, Havana, 2017-2018. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA © ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Nestor Kim

Curated by Vicente Todolí, Short-circuits, is conceived as an immersive exploration within the complex artistic research of Chen Zhen, bringing together for the first time some of the artist’s most significant works from 1991 to 2000, in the 5,500 square metres of the Navate and Cubo of Pirelli HangarBicocca.

Images courtesy Pirelli HangarBicocca.