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2014.01.07 Tue, by Translated by: 梁舒涵
Flesh and Chen Fei

This week, “”Flesh and Me”, a solo exhibition by Chen Fei, will open at Galerie Perrotin Hong Kong.  Born in 1983, Chen is known for his love of film and for vivid paintings that stand out for their particular “flat” style and approach to human subjects. Here, Chen talks about this new show at Perrotin, his approach to art and the development of his work.


Iona Whittaker: What can people expect from your upcoming exhibition at Perrotin in Hong Kong?

Chen Fei: They will see my new works, which are more mature than my past ones. They also mark the thirtieth year of my life.

IW: How did the title “Flesh and Me” come about, and what does it mean?

CF: To me, flesh is a word that triggers much imagination. Besides its superficial meaning, I think it also conveys a sense of sexual desire, violence and pain. “Flesh and Me” represents how I felt while creating the artworks—it’s straightforward, yet with a huge sense of imagination.

Chen Fei, “Jupiter” , acrylic on canvas , 170 x 130 cm
陈飞,《太岁》, 丙烯、画布 , 170 x 130 厘米

IW: How do you feel your work sits in relation to the general atmosphere of commercial exhibitions in Hong Kong?

CF: In 2010, I exhibited once in Hong Kong. I think there is room for maturity for the galleries in Hong Kong in commercial terms; however, they need to be less academic. I hope that this exhibition will serve as a better platform for people to appreciate my works.

IW: Your painting has a deliberate “flatness”—why do you choose this mode?

CF: I would regard it as an instinctive mode of expression. I did not choose to rely on any particular approach to painting. It relates more to my personality. I like to express myself in a neat and detailed way.

IW: How do you think others respond to it?

CF: There must be some people who like my works and some who don’t. It doesn’t bother me at all. The reason I chose creating art alone as my career is so that it means I don’t need to be responsible for anyone.

IW: You are mad about film, but choose to paint—why?

CF: When I was younger, I liked audio/visual art. However, as I grow older, I started to develop a liking for quieter forms of expression. I have been drawing since I was a child. I studied film at university because I would like to learn more about other forms of expression.

IW: Do you think there could be more of a relationship between painting and film-making than people imagine?

CF: The core content and language of painting and film-making are different. One is static and the other dynamic. But there are certainly things they can learn from each other.

Chen Fei,“Step Father”, acrylic on canvas, 205 x 175 cm
陈飞, 《继父》, 丙烯、画布 , 205 x 175 厘米

IW: What is the relationship for you, personally?

CF: I do not think there is a meaningful relationship at the moment. I hope that in the future, my works will be less related to film.

IW: When you make art, do you consider your audience and the types of viewer who will see it?

CF: Not really. I believe making art is a personal thing. If someone says they like your work, it means they understand what you are trying to say through your art.

IW: Is there a thread or theme running through your ideas at the moment?

CF: There are always many ideas in my head every day and I feel excited about them. I wish I had a couple more hands so that I could create more. But I know that haste makes waste, so I will takes things step by step.

IW: Would you say your aims for your work are evolving as you begin to have more high-profile exhibitions, or have they always been the same?

CF: There are indeed some changes. I set a higher standard for myself each time, hoping to show people better work.

IW: What do you think you are most loyal to in your work?

CF: My values.

IW: What are you working on now?

CF: I have begun a new series. I hope to be able to finish it next year.

IW: What are you looking forward to in 2014?

CF: I hope my life will get back on track. I don’t like the idea of uncertainty and unexpected changes.

Chen Fei,“Renaissance in the Bush”, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 80 cm
陈飞, 《草丛里的文艺复兴》, 丙烯、画布 , 60 x 80 厘米