• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2605

    Asian Contemporary Art (Day Sale)

    25 May 2008, Hong Kong

  • Lot 685

    CHEN HUI

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    CHEN HUI
    (BORN IN 1971)
    YOU & ME
    SIGNED AND DATED 'CHEN; 2007' IN CHINESE (LOWER CENTRE)
    ACRYLIC ON CANVAS
    80 X 119.8 CM. (31 1/2 X 47 IN.)
    PAINTED IN 2007


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    THE OBSCURELY INACCURATE PROPORTIONS OF THE PROTAGONISTS ARE IN PHYSICAL ALLEGORIZATION OF THE DYSFUNCTIONAL DEFORMITY THAT THE FRENZIED RATE OF ECONOMIC PROSPERITY OF CONTEMPORARY CHINA HAS BRED UPON THE YOUNG GENERATION. THE DIASPORIC EXPERIENCE OF THE PROTAGONISTS ARE PORTRAYED BY CHEN HUI, IN HIS OWN UNIQUE AESTHETIC INTERPRETATION OF COSPLAY, CULMINATING AN OVERALL SURREAL IMPRESSION OF THE CURRENT ECCENTRICITY OF THE YOUTH WHERE THEY STRIVE TO SEARCH AND EXPRESS A SENSE OF INDIVIDUALISM; WHICH IN END RESULT, ONLY EXHIBITS THEIR PERPLEXITY IN THEIR ADORNED SCHIZOPHRENIC OUTFITS.


    COSPLAY IS A JAPANESE SUBCULTURE FOR COSTUME PLAY, WHERE INDIVIDUALS ARE USUALLY DRESSED UP IN COSTUME OF SOME SORT, PARTICULARLY THAT OF CHARACTERS OF MANGA, ANIME AND VIDEO GAMES. SEEKING TO GO BEYOND THE TRADITIONAL FORM OF SURREALISM, CHEN UNITES THE CONTEMPORARY PHENOMENA OF COSPLAY WITH AUTONOMOUS DREAM LIKE SENSATION OF SURREALISM, PLUCKING THE CREATIVE IMPERATIVE OF EACH THEME TO PRODUCE A MORE SOPHISTICATED SETTLED RELATIONSHIP THAT BEST FOCUSES ON HIS CRITICISM OF THE SOCIAL DISINTEGRATION WHICH IS MOST DEFINITELY ALLEGORIZED IN THE ASSORTED, MIX-MATCHED CLOTHING OF THE SUBJECTS. IGNORING THE GENDER SPECIFICITY OF CERTAIN ITEMS, CHEN DELIBERATELY PRESENTS GENDER AMBIGUITY IN EACH CHARACTER BY DRESSING MEN IN SKIRTS AND PAINTING PRICKLY THICK LEG HAIR TO THE FEMALES. THE PALE ILLNESS OF THE SKIN TONE COMPLEMENT THE COLORFUL GARMENTS, FURTHERMORE AMPLIFYING THE ATTENTIVE BRUSH APPLICATION OF CHEN. CONFINED IN A SPACE THAT APPEARS AS CORRUGATED CARDBOARD, THESE INDIVIDUALS IN YOU & ME (LOT 685) APPEAR AS WASTEFUL, UNWANTED PRODUCTS. AS THE COUPLE ON THE RIGHT STAND IN MELANCHOLIC EXHAUSTION WHILST THE COUPLE ON THE LEFT RESTS IN REBELLIOUS BONDAGE; CHEN'S QUEER AND INCIDENTALLY GRAPHIC IMAGES REINFORCES THE DILEMMA OF THE YOUTHS, WHICH IS FURTHER EXPLORED IN VISUAL MAGNIFICATION THROUGH SOMETHING NOT (LOT 686). THE FIGURE STANDS IN A CLOUDED LANDSCAPE OF DARK HUES, AGAIN IN EXCEEDINGLY UNPROPORTIONATE FORM, GESTURE AND CLOTHING ATTEMPTING TO IMPOSE A MYTHICAL CHARACTER. THE EERINESS OF THIS MALE IN QUIRKILY FEMINIZED POSTURE AND INAPPROPRIATELY STYLIZED ATTIRE PROVOKE A SENSE OF HILARITY AND DREAD FROM THE VIEWER, BUT NEVERTHELESS DRAWING THEM TO INSPECT EVERY SINGLE DETAIL OF HAIR ON THE PECULIAR SKIN TEXTURE OF THE PROTAGONIST. HIDEOUS IN SCRUTINY, CHEN ENDEAVORS TO EXHIBIT HIS EXISTENTIAL PATHOS IN HOPES THAT THE VIEWERS WILL ALSO CONTEMPLATE BY DELIBERATELY DISTORTING HIS SUBJECTS IN CONFLICTED CLOTHING THAT GENERATE THEIR LOST SENSE OF IDENTITY.