TIANZHUO CHEN [CN]
6th International Digital Art Biennial
Arsenal Contemporary Art Montreal
12.01.2022 - 02.05.2023
Tianzhuo Chen was born in 1985, and he currently lives and works in Beijing, China. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in London, he received his master’s degree in fine art from the Chelsea College of Arts in London. Chen skillfully works between the artistic disciplines of installation, performance, video, painting, and photography, but he also creates events that require the participation of viewers or other people, such as underground parties, theater performances, or more precisely constructed ritual sites, to realize their transformation into dreamworlds. He assimilates elements and symbols from religion (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and shamanism), subcultures (e.g., cult followings, drag shows, and raves), popular culture (e.g., cartoons, hip hop, and electronic music), and dance (e.g., butoh and vogueing) into his work, in the hopes that the viewer or participant will transcend the surface state of the body and spirit through that ambience and achieve what the artist calls a “state of madness.” Recent solo exhibitions include “Trance” (M Woods Museum, Beijing, 2019), “GHOST” (Kunsthalle Winterthur, Winterthur, 2017), “Ishvara” (Long March Space, Beijing, 2016), “Chen Tianzhuo” (chi K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, 2016), and “Tianzhuo Chen” (Palais de Tokyo, Paris, 2015).
Exo-Perfomance/Beio, 2019 - Video installation, 5'43''
Chen Tianzhuo and Andrew Thomas Huang’s Exo-Performance/Baby Chinayu and Exo-Perfomance/Beio interprets the classical dual phases of mythological afterlife: Heaven and Hell, in a 3-channel video installation. Working with a CG postproduction studio in Los Angeles the artist built digital sculptures in the form of spirit – gods, which borrow simultaneously from Chinese traditional allegories and contemporary science fiction. These digital sculptures were then mapped onto the bodies of Chen’s long-time collaborative actors, Baby Chinayu and Bei-O, as they move around a fictional, digitized landscape. The three separate channels mix versions of the sculpture mimicking the actors’ movements with the over-layed studio version of the actor in motion software sensors, together with the digitized backdrops. In heaven Bei-O dressed in a traditional farmers hat and staff behaves like an ancient shaman, crusading in Butoh dancelike steps, across a wasteland of wintry blue haze.