Chen Fei (b.1983, China)

Born in 1983 in the Hongtong County of Shangxi Province, China, Chen Fei graduated in 2005 from the Fine Arts Department of the Beijing Film Academy. As a devoted movie fan since he was young, the artist demonstrates profound knowledge of the silver screen which has highly influenced his oeuvre, from the subjects to the compositions of his paintings. 

Chen attributes his personal preference of portraying the vulgar to his upbringing. Describing the education he received as traditional and barbaric, he believes it is this inappropriate taste that differentiates him from other artists. Proposing that not fitting within the conventional notion of “beauty” does not equate to the bad. Chen’s black humor is displayed through his paintings that are intended to stir emotions and sensory sensations, by challenging this very concept of good and bad taste, both aesthetically and morally where subjects swing between decency and the lack of it. As observed in the tattooed bodies, a penis  that is about to be castrated and the anatomized human parts, notions of sex, desire and violence are prevalent in Chen’s pieces. He playfully undermines the value of art, life and death by an almost squeamish processing of the pictures. The seemingly carefree, at times idealized backgrounds impassively hypnotize us in their game-liked atmosphere,which on the contrary serve to heighten the cruelty represented. This dialogue not only challenges the accepted art historical canon of beauty but also reflects the nonconformist attitude held by many artists of the Post-80’s generation from China.

Despite his seemingly frivolous images, Chen in fact holds a very conscientious approach when he paints. He is an artist that belongs to the ‘school of exhaustive labor’, who meticulously paints his canvases in exquisite detail. His technique can be traced back to Chinese traditional  Gong-bi paintings, characterized by extreme precision. Lean closer to Chen’s works and you will discover a tenacity in his visual rhetoric, in which not a single stroke is out of place: the labyrinth of veins and muscle fibers, the suffocating sea of plantation and the delicate delineation of human hair. Forgoing his everyday life in his slightly masochistic dedication to painting, working day after day, night after night, he finds the feeling of success even sweeter after a bitter struggle.The complicated and even mechanic execution of lines and colors are obsessively clean, sharp and restrained. Together with his use of the super-flat technique, Chen has achieved the perfect balance between composition and his methodological application of colors. All these give rise to an alienating effect that distances the viewer, yet by this very act compels them to accept passively the existence of the hyper realist scenes that are depicted.

Fei, Chen b.1983

artworks in collection

related artists / China / Far East