Chen Wen Ling born in 1969 from Anxi China is recognized as one of the top ten contemporary sculptors in the international art industry. Known for his provoking and interesting twist in his sculptural works, Chen Wen Ling shot to artistic fame with his ‚ÄėRed Memory‚Äô series (2001-2007), showcasing the playful naked boys covered in shiny red paint. He completed his study in the Sculpture Department at Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and started working as a professional artist ever since.
Along the years, he started to shift his focus to create issues that pertain to the adult world as he plays with metaphors, symbolism and various techniques to sculpt a profound piece which is never too hard for the audience to interpret. His works are modest and earthy and there is often a clear connection between the man and nature dialogue depicted in his sculptures. One of his well known pieces‚ÄúWhat you see might not be real‚ÄĚ depicted his point of view on the global financial crisis and the works of Wall Street. We can notably see the dramatic and moving sculptures, captured in action whenever we come across Chen Wen Ling‚Äôs works. Chen Wen Ling never fails to bring a whimsy and playfulness tone to sculpture while at the same time, maintaining his stance as a sophisticated artist in his own unique figurative style.
His works are observed have marked many places in the world where he exhibited in the First China Art Triennial at Guangzhou Art Museum in China (2002), Chinese Sculpture Masterpieces Exhibition of the Beijing International Biennale in China (2003), China-Belgium Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition at Antwerp in Belgium (2004), Grounding Reality: Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition in Korea(2005) and 37th Art Exposition in Basel of Switzerland (2006).
In 1999, Chen Wen Ling received the Venice Biennial International Prize of the Golden Lion in Italy and not long after, he received the Alpert Award in the Arts in the United States. In 2005, he received the award for best installation in the Museum for Inopportune in France. After his impressive display of the Red Memory series in both Cottesloe and Bondi Beach in Australia, Chen Wen Ling has been recently invited to return to exhibit in Denmark in 2013 due the well received demand in 2011 exhibition.
Red Memory Series
The use of bright red colour in presenting the boys depicts not only the symbolic and auspicious colour considered by Chinese traditions, but also a testament of the artist‚Äôs fiery attitude towards life. The Red Boys, naked and free, have nothing to hide. Simple and true- a direct communication with nature and a conversation between society and people is what Chen Wen Ling‚Äôs works communicate to the audiences. The cheeky expressions and arresting poses is a celebratory call to the audiences-embracing the inner child in every viewer. The Red Boy series have attracted locals, international audiences, academics and avant-garde critic alike to appreciate them from their own perspectives.
In Chen Wen Ling‚Äôs latest series of work, Chen Wenling has a change of front on his art concept. He gave full scope to his imagination, borrowed the methods of appropriation, assemblage and translation from post-modern concept - that is, blending and transforming the natural, traditional and modern images, creating a kind of surrealistic and fantastic scene of the so-looked mountain and stone. The fantastic mountains and stones are shaped to ambiguous things subjectively, like melting iceberg, or gigantic deer, also seems like traditional pavilion. The bottom of the sculpture looks like melting ice, while the top of the pavilion is beautifully carved drops. This twisty, fragmented and unrealistic phantasm reappeared vividly a quiescent pure world and a sense of realistic alienation. As the light bounces off the smooth stainless steel surface, people would feel that they are in a fantastical and illusion world.
PengDe, ART&DESIGN,Volume118, 2003.
PengDe is a recognized Chinese Art Critic and also a Professor at Xian Academy of Art.
Red is the colour in fashion - from the Red Devil Cheer Team in South Korea to the usual red uniforms of the European football teams and the various red symbols in China.Throughout Chinese history, red has been a symbolic and auspicious colour. Chen wants to express the tension of money, power,anxiety, fear and cruelty in the adult world. In this Red Boys series, he expresses the dream, the remembrance and the nostalgia of our innocent childhood and a questioning of our adult human culture.
The Red Boys are innocent and not evil, healthy and not sick. It is well known that the visual arts of the late twentieth century, whether in art,cinema or three-dimension cartoon pictures of computer games are full of violence,self doubt and pity.Chen‚Äôs Red Boy look like lotus growing out of mud,satisfying the craving for anew trend of avant garde art -where the exploration of our human nature provides hope rather than act as a weapon of criticism. His works attracted locals,international audience,academics and avant-garde critic alike to appreciate them from their own perspectives.
Chen‚Äôs series of the Red Boys, entitled Red Memory, have various meanings and nuances for different modern art viewers. They may be reminded of a newborn baby which symbolizes the innocence of human heart in a classical culture,without any feelings of ordinariness. They may relate the works to the Red Boy of one of Chinese great novels: 'The Journey to the West (Xi You Ji), but without the feeling of an evil spirit.
They may be reminded of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, without a feeling of cruelty.They may be reminded of the war fires in the past in this strategically important China, without any feelings of fear.Those who know Chen may link the Red boys with a very unusual experience. In 1996, there was an astonishing report on the newspaper of the Xiamen daily, entitled ‚ÄúRare and Courageous Self Defense‚ÄĚ. It was reported that a couple was robbed at the beach. The man courageously defended himself and the woman and was stabbed dozens of times.Two main arteries of his wrists were cut open. His body was soaked with blood.It was the bloodiest case in the local criminal history. The article described the heroic action of the young man who survived the attack in detail. He was no other than Mr Chen Wenling. Despite this, Chen shows no trace of hatred in his Red Memory.
Modern art emphasizes the concepts in a work. It often creates a style of too many concepts. In contrast, Chen‚Äôs works are simple and true. He does not deliberately create concepts. The naked bodies have nothing to hide. What is left, is a direct communication with nature and a conversation between society and the people.The facial and body expressions of the Red Boys are properly exaggerated to enhance the communicative effects.This series of works is a relief from too many concepts. It can also be viewed that there is a concept in the works to curtail the burden of concepts.
|2012||Art Stage Singapore, represented by Ode to Art, Singapore|
|2010||"What you See is Real"- Chen Wenling Solo-exhibition, Ode to Art Gallery,|
|"The Suspense"-Sculptures by Chen Wenling 2010, Today's Art Museum, Beijing, China|
|"Now! Asian Artists"-Busan Biennale Special Exhibition, Busan, Korea|
|"Trace and Qualitative Leap", Beijing Film Academy 4D Space Museum, Beijing, China|
|"Negotiations", Today's Document Exhibition, Today's Museum, Beijing, China|
|Expo 2010, Jing'An International Sculpture Exhibition, Jing An Park of Sculpture, Shanghai, |
|"And-Writers", Nanjing Contemporary Double Exhibition, |
Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum New address, Shanghai, China
|2009||"Emergency Exit"-Sculptures by Chen Wenling, JoyArt, Beijing, China|
|2008||"China: Facing Reality", National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China|
|"Beijing-Athens Contemporary Art From China", Technopolis of the City of Athens, Greece|
|"God of Materialism"-Sculptures by Chen Wenling, Asia Art Center, Beijing, China|
|2007||"Metamorphose" Chen Wen Ling Exhibition, Makii Masaru Fine Arts, Japan|
|"My Chinese Friends", Gallery Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen, Denmark|
|"The Power of Universt" 798 Asian Art Center, Beijing, China|
|"Floating: New Generation of Art in China", The National Art Museum of Korea, Seoul, Korea|
|"Red Memory" Chen Wen Ling's Solo Exhibition, Ode to Art, Singapore|
|2006||"Made in China", Padova, Italy|
|"In the Name of Material" Exhibition of Contemporary Art of Sculpture, HSS Art Centre Shanghai, China|
|37th Art Exposition in Basel of Switzerland, Basel, Switzerland|
|"Hyper design" Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China|
|"Chinese Art Today", National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China|
|2005||"Ground Reality" Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibition, Seoul, Korea|
|"Time of Sea" International Contemporary Art Exhibition, Shanghai, China|
|2004||Solo Exhibition: "Happy Life", Chinese European Art Centre, Xiamen, China|
|2003||Chinese Sculpture Masterpieces Exhibition of Beijing International Biennale, Beijing, China|
|2002||21st China Art Triennial, Guangzhou Art Museum, Guangdong, China|
|2001||Sculpture Show, Shanghai Young Artists Exhibition, Normal University of Shanghai, China|
|1991||Chen Wen Ling's Woodcarving Exhibition Xiamen College of Art, Xiamen, China|
|2005||International Association of Art Critics United States Section, Best Monograph Show and|
Best Installation in a Museum for Inopportune, Paris, France
|2001||CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts, United States of America|
|1999||The Venice Biennial International Prize-Golden Lion, Italy|
|1997||Oribe Awards, Gifu, Japan|
|1995||Benesse Prize of Transculture Exhibition, 46th Venice Biennale, Italy|