Chen Zhen at GALLERIA CONTINUA, Habana
ARTE CONTINUA is pleased to present, for the first time in Cuba, a solo exhibition of Chen Zhen. An artist of Chinese origin, he was based in Paris from 1986 until his untimely death on December 13, 2000, following a serious illness.
He gained international recognition for the quality of his artworks and his open-minded approach.
Jardin Lavoir occupies the main space in the former cinema, and transforms it into a space of purification and healing.
This artwork was first presented in 2000 at the Cimaise and Portique regional center of contemporary art in Albi (France), in the middle of an old mill. Eleven bed frames (the number references the number of essential organs in the human body) are transformed into metal washtubs filled with water, where all sorts of everyday objects are subjected to a constant wash.
The arrangement of beds in the space creates a full- blown “washtub-garden”: the flowing water washes the objects and transforms the beds into placid lakes.
These “bed tubs”, a metaphor for the body and the materialization of human life, become a perennial site of ablution and natural therapy. Water is at the center of this artwork, giving the space an intimate and secret atmosphere.
On the first floor Six Roots – Enfance / Fille – Childhood / Girl and Six Roots – Mémoire / Memory face and engage with each other. Both are part of a series of six pieces that are an allegory for human life: birth, childhood, conflict, suffering, memory, death–rebirth.
“Nothing exists by accident… It was during my visit to the MOCA in Zagreb in 2000 with six successive rooms linked together by doors, that I conceived Six Roots. The space has a human scale that made me think of a series of organs: a body in six parts, a life in six stages… Six Roots is a Buddhist expression that describes the principal bodily senses: sight (eyes), hearing (the ears), smell (the nose), taste (the tongue), touch (the body) and knowledge (consciousness). These fundamental human “capabilities”condition and tie together our diverse behaviors and thoughts. They evolve with age and different temperaments for better or for worse. Adopting this Buddhist theme is a pretext for questioning the six stages of life and the multiplicity of contradictory aspects in human behavior”.
Watching over everything, finally, is Lumière innocente (Innocent Light), a casket of life whose light spreads all around, and with the life energy it still has in reserve keeps hope alive and indicates the path that awaits us to make the world a better place for future generations.
at GALLERIA CONTINUA, Habana
until 11 March 2018