Chen Zhen Chen Zhen, Nov 17, 2011 - Jan 07, 2012


de Sarthe Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of the late Chinese-born, Paris-based artist Chen Zhen (1955- 2000) whose installations poetically employ both his study of traditional Chinese culture and his knowledge of Western avant-garde art to engage with contemporary social issues.

This exhibition included a carefully chosen group of sculptures created from 1992 to 2000. Among them the work that was shown in 1996’s first Chen Zhen exhibition in New York which took place at Deitch Project. The installation titled Daily Incantations is a sculptural installation inspired by the artist's personal experience in Shanghai during the period of the Cultural Revolution. The installation comprises one hundred and one nightstools (Chinese chamber pots) that the artist and his friends purchased on the streets of Shanghai. The nightstools are suspended like balls from a stadium-like structure reminiscent of an ancient Chinese instrument. In the center of the structure is a large globe completely covered with old radios, televisions, telephones, and other debris of electronic communication. Speakers installed inside each of the nightstools played the sound of the ritual cleaning of the stools that Chinese women traditionally perform every day.

Exploring the intricate and often paradoxical relationship between the material and the spiritual, the community and the individual, interior and exterior, Chen Zhen used sound and everyday materials such as candles, beds, chairs, and even chamber pots, linking the physical world to the spiritual, ritualistic one. The result was an aesthetic immersed in the traditional past but aligned with the present. Among other works in the exhibition, de Sarthe Gallery is showing the complete series Deep Sleep which was part in 1992 of the exhibition Objets illuminés la nuit, at Galleria Vivita, Florence, Italy. It has never been seen together since that exhibition almost 20 years ago.

For further information please contact the gallery at +852 21678896 or at


Click here for the digital catalogue

Click here for more information on Chen Zhen