Chen Zhen - Contemporary Art London Friday, October 13, 2006 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Italy

  • Catalogue Essay

    Blurring East and West, mysticism and science, concrete and insubstantial, Chen Zhen poetically incorporates his study of traditional Chinese culture and his knowledge of Western avant-garde art to create artwork that engages with contemporary social issues. Crossing cultural and philosophical boundaries, Zhen explores the intricate, and often paradoxical, relationship between the material and the spiritual, community and individual, and interior and exterior. Using his concept of the organic whole, derived from Chinese medical theory, Zhen constructs complete entities from disparate components, referencing the human body or an architectural model.

    With highly interactive elements, Zhen’s work fosters an exchange between artistic space and the observer. Using sound and everyday materials such as candles, beds, chairs, and even chamber pots, Zhen links the physical world to the spiritual, ritualistic one. The result is an aesthetic immersed in the traditional past, but aligned with the present. In the present lot, UN VILLAGE SANS FRONTIERS, 2000, incorporates a child’s wooden chair and piled it with multi-colored candles; thus symbolizing houses where diverse cultures co-exist, forming a village without borders. By placing the child’s chair halfway up a wall, and with the misshapen house of multicolored candles, the work almost appears to be a door to nowhere, a sense of a failed building or a tie of passage, of a life fizzled out, but now only fit for a ritual. The work is very powerful as Zhen incorporates candles, a symbol for light, spirituality and prayer, with the building of houses, i.e. the universal need for shelter and protection. This particular work is part of a larger project, Zhen created in 2000 also entitled Un village sans frontiers (A Village Without Frontiers), in which he worked with street children in Brazil to create an entire imaginary city of candle houses.


Un Village sans frontiers

Wooden chair and candles.
33 x 13 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (83.8 x 34.3 x 39.7 cm).
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

£30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for £50,400

Contemporary Art

14 Oct 2006, 7pm