Chen Zhen

Fu Dao / Fu Dao: "upside-down Buddha / arrival at good fortune"
1997-08-04 - 1997-09-05

The Project Gallery presented a site-specific installation by Chen Zhen.

1. 6 round metal tubes construct a temple like structure which is about 380 cm high:
2. On the level of 300 cm of this structure, some ten found objects are suspended: fragments of car, televisions, refrigerators, and any kind of ready-made objects.
3. At the in-between spaces of this “suspended funeral”, all the objects will be linked and woven by many small bamboo like a “roof” of temple, a “floating body” of the sediments and a “relic” or “avatars” from Heaven.
4. Some fifty Buddha statues are suspended in upside-down in the middle of the temple.

In spring 1993, after 8 years of living and working in the west, I came back to China for the first time for experiencing the tremendous changes, and trying to realize the actual mutation and the future tendency in Asia through a city like Shanghai.

After frequent visits with observations and inspirations from such an amassing area, with conceiving and realizing my projects in the different Asian countries, I found that this Oriental world has not only already taken shape economically and politically as a energetic bloc which contends with the Europe and America and which decentralizes incontestably, but also creates quickly a very intensive “central territory of eastern-western conflict” in terms of culture. In other words, we should, as an Asian artist, not only make the movements in the West for proving the existence of differences and hybrids in order to question or disclose the colonialist root of western-centralism and to create “my world” in the West, but also should be conscious that actual Asia is just “the biggest center of conflict between the East and the West”.

In winter 1995, when I came into a restaurant in Shanghai, I saw a strange thing: A big Chinese word “good fortune” was put in upside-down on the door. I asked what’s happened. “You shouldn’t look at the word, but read it” a friend said. Then, I understood suddenly: the pronunciation of the word, “upside-down Fu” is the same as “arrival of Fu” The project “Fu Dao / Fu Dao” interrogates:

How functions the oriental tradition of “getting wealth” which mixes with and echoes through the different folk convention, the super- stitious belief and religious ritual in the recent western materialized society ?

What’s the relationship and meaning in today’s Asia between the Buddha and divinity or money, or politics and power, otherwise and spirituality ?

In which way the Asian people will construct our own modern society, contemporary culture and particular political system in such a background where the omnipresence of Buddha and the confusion between the spirit of dematerialization and the obsession of prosperity ?

Chen Zhen stayed at CCA Kitakyushu as Professor of Research Program during a month of July 1997.

This post is also available in: Japanese

Chen Zhen
1997-08-04 - 1997-09-05

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