Chen Zhen was born in 1955 in Shanghai, China. In 1886, he emigrated to New York and then Paris, where he trained at the Institut des Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques. Trained initially as a painter, he soon turned his attention to sculpture and installation. He combines objects that bear witness to ancient eastern culture with elements linked to western contemporary art; he was one of the first artists to reflect on the concept of multiculturalism. For Chen Zhen, the work of art is born from a coherent dialogue between the visible context (the social, political and cultural fabric) and the invisible context (memory and place of origin). All of his work is permeated by the concept of ‘trans-experience’, which is based on three principles: residence, that is, adapting to an environment different from your own, even if temporarily; resonance, the search for dialogue and affinity with the other; and resistance, the battle against ‘the mono-influence of western culture’ . He died in 2000 following an illness.
Recent posthumous exhibitions of his work include those held at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai (2015), Frith Street Gallery, London (2015) and Galerie Perrotin, Paris (2014). His work was shown in the exhibition “In Praise of Doubt” (2011-13) at Punta della Dogana.