Feb 10, 2012 bis Mar 03, 2012

Chen Qiang

Chen Qiang is a contemporary Chinese painter best known for his “dot paintings.” Abstract and hallucinatory, his paintings act as Rorschach tests for viewers, who project their own responses onto them. Chen, born in 1960, lives and works in Shanghai. Chen’s unusual dot style has its roots in a phone conversation that took place in the early 1990s. As he explains in a 1996 essay, Chen and a friend were discussing marriage and its complexities. They spoke for over an hour, as Chen doodled absenmindedly on a sheet of paper. The next day he  saw what he had scribbled, and “was really stunned by the patterns.” He wondered whether “they make any sense?—dots and rounds and dots.” His phone conversations with the same friend grew more frequent, and moved on to less weighty subjects: the wintry weather's frozen turn or the ability of tropical fish to "carelessly" pass through their watery habitat. “I found it was when my brain was engaged in [consideration],” Chen says, “that my hands learned to draw naively but honestly.”



Art Reflections

Perceiving is not understanding. Looking without reading. The brain deprives the visual sense of its freedom. Abstract art liberates one from the way of seeing configured during one’s childhood. Abstract art assembles in order to see. From within to without, that is the direction of reading. An outward (collective) reading needs to be interpreted; hence it needs narratives, descriptions and representation. An inward (individual) reading does not need to be interpreted; hence it needs no narrative, description or representation. Art is to be seen and sensed. It is about creation and life. In the media age, visual morphine is no doubt also a great way of consoling a tired heart.Reading keeps the groups in balance. It unifies thinking, standards and values. Reading brings about the loss of seeing.Seeing is the original state, a window, and a door opened by the will to see.


CHEN Qiang