Chen Yujun: Each Single Self
Arario Gallery opens the year of 2020 with Chen Yujun (陈彧君, b. 1976)'s solo exhibition. Chen is one of the most prominent artists in Chinese contemporary art, in which the artist's poetic yet dramatic works are dedicated to explore the drastically changing present society based on everyday experience.
Each Single Self is consisted of more than thirty new works by Chen, each work starting from the most private experience of the artist and expanding to each individual's story, constructing a sense of a community, as a self. The way Chen tells his story is based on the artist's critical perspective and examination about the concept of an 'individual self' and 'community' in Asian countries that went through modernization and westernization over the last century.
For this exhibition, Chen will present works which shed light on the stories of an individual, compared to the previous works that does not often illustrate human figures. Drawings that have a sketch of human figures on the newspaper and abstracted human figure sculpture in marble portray the artist's life story based on his personal observation with the most earnest manner.
Chen further connects the multilayered relationship of the artwork and viewers by placing a spatial structure within and to the work giving a schism between the stories and the narrative conceived. This creative process is again highlighted through the collage technique foundational to Chen's artwork. One of the major works for the exhibition, Space of 11 Square Meters, is a work which newspaper and hand-made traditional paper are collaged as completed with exquisite touch of acrylic and ink painting. Behind the contorted space and jumbled expression, assemblages of different 'houses' come into life. The motif of 'house,' a foundation of a life, provides a central ground for Chen's artwork. Growing up in Fujian Province and moving to Hangzhou and Shanghai, Chen was naturally encountered with an issue of diaspora ensued by immigration. Experiencing diverse cultures even within China, he was able to understand the life story of others. In the work, Wedding Banquet, Chen paints a disorderly feast of a family who are gathered from different places, depicting lives scrambled together in a complex yet a humble habit. The ordinary stories of individual assembled to form a society, and societies constructing a perception of community are the essential idea of Chen's work, addressing that the identity of oneself, society and culture stem from the most private space, in this case a house.
Right at this moment when we are encountered with Chen's work, the story of each single self is weaved tightly with the artist's creative world, as the time and space intersect with each other. Today, where boundaries among society and countries are continuously expanding and re-contextualized, we hope to provide a glimpse into the artist's zietgeist on the identity of individuals and changing map of Asia.
Chen Yujun was born in 1976, Putian, Fujian Province, and currently lives and works in Shanghai. He graduated from Department of mixed media of China Academy of Fine Arts in 1999. Chen uses various media from paintings to collage, drawings and sculpture, in which the artist utilizes in portrayal of people living the everyday life. His recent solo exhibition was held Asia Art Center Taipei II (2018), 9m2 Museum (2015) in Shanghai, and will have a large-scale solo exhibition at Long Museum, Shanghai in 2021. He also participated at group exhibitions including The 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale (2014), Minsheng Art Museum (2015), Long Museum (2014) and Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (2013). His works have been collected by DSL Collection (France), Long Museum (China), M+ Museum (Hong Kong) and more.