Chen Hangfeng // China
Chen Hangfeng is a Chinese multi-media artist and painter based in Shanghai whose practice revolves around drawing, painting, photo, video, paperwork, installation, and performance. A Shanghai-native, he trained as a painter and studied Fine Arts at Shanghai University. He brings representation to issues in urban environments, from cultural change to environmentalism. Any and all contemporary social issues is China fall into his crosshairs. Adaptation arrives frequently in the experience of the artist’s work from painting to performance. Taking his brush to topical issues, Chen blends and distills concepts through association, metaphor, and humor. In a way, the work plays an instructive role akin to a ribbon around the finger. Much of his work takes advantage of traditionally-aligned technique – Southern Literati painting, for example. This early practice did not so much affect the message of his work, which has always been quite clearly stating. Rather, the payment of technical dues fits him into a storied line of philosophers and artists in historical tradition. By doing so, Chen levels himself with the onus of tackling social issues as an artist in a society that reveres the artist’s perspective rather than fetishizes it. His video work is plain and impactful. By taking distinct focus on discrete objects or a procession of cumulative actions, the product whelms – not over and not under. Taking an approach that centers on salient subjectivity, Chen’s work has granted him greater and greater social identity. In criticizing capitalism or the restrictive nature that modern Chinese cities have taken on, he is emblematic of an artistic progression from the organization of images to experiences to social structure itself. In China, where the environment and the actors within can fall severely at odds, Chen offers the rekindling of an original flame for the two. And adaptation arrives back in its proper seat. Often, his work serves as a pleasant reality-check.
WhyWhyArt Exhibiting Artist