Chen Zhen, Daily Incantations,
1996 (installation view detail)
the Artists: Chen Zhen
is difficult to hear the sounds in Daily Incantations when there
are other people in the gallery. Are visitors supposed to be able to hear
and understand the sounds emanating from the sculpture? Where were the
weakness of the sounds from the work is due to the Museum condition of a
group show. The sound was stronger originally for the work, but as there
are many works in the same space, I suppose that the people from museum
reduce the sounds for a better cohabitation of all the works. I recorded
this sound from the street in Shanghai where Chinese women clean everyday
morning the chamber pots.
did you collect the chamber pots?
collected the chamber pots from my native city, Shanghai where it happens
a great change in terms of urbanism. During this occidentalisation of
urbanism, thousands of thousands the old traditional houses are destroyed.
All the chamber pots come from there. They are a kind of witness of the
change of globalization.
don't you live in China anymore?
very difficult to continue a work like what I do now in China because of
the political, ideological and social problems. The freedom of personal
expression in art is not yet so open and flexible like in the western
world or other places in the world. But I still visit very often my native
country not only for my family but also for retying my cultural roots.
does living in the western world influence your artwork and the
development of your career?
me, the fact to live in western world is to live in an open space where I
can go to everywhere, visit any culture and dialogue with most of the
people. Of cause there are an influence of western culture in my work.
But, the most important thing is that the cultural hybrid is no longer
limited only between two cultures, but among the many cultures and
civilisations. I think that the fact being in the western world allows me
and helps me a lot to question all these multicultural or global-local
problems. I am very happy to have a lot of people who support my work and
understand what I want to do.