Chinese artist Chen Fei’s bad taste – Schoeni video interview

Exposure to violent elements in the fictional world has influenced the real world artistic creations of Chinese artist Chen Fei.

The nine minute long video interview, which is part of a series of interviews with represented artists, was produced by Schoeni Art Gallery in December 2012 to celebrate their twentieth anniversary. Throughout the interview, visual and multimedia artist Chen Fei opens up about his art.

Art Radar has covered other videos in this Schoeni Art Gallery interview series. Click here to view them all.

Chen Fei’s “bad taste”

As he says in the interview, Chen Fei aims to reveal the darker side of society’s fictional worlds in his artworks.

I believe that many people do like certain ugly or not so pretty things, and being not exactly beautiful does not necessarily mean that they are bad or not good. This is what I refer to as ‘bad taste’.

He always includes a “visual narrative” in his works, a practice that stems from a longtime preference for “reading” images.

To me, this is similar to the use of paintings as a means of telling religious stories in the past, using a two-dimensional picture to tell a story instead of using a complicated language.

Chen Fei, 'Killers Series - Kill Bill', 2010, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 45 cm. Image courtesy Schoeni Art Gallery. Copyright the artist.

Chen Fei, ‘Killers Series – Kill Bill’, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 45 cm. Image courtesy Schoeni Art Gallery. Copyright the artist.

In an effort to “challenge perceptions of good and bad taste in both aesthetics and morals”, as noted in the introduction to the video, Chen conceals a sinister plot within each 2D image that he produces.

Art Radar has covered other videos in this Schoeni Art Gallery interview series. Click here to view them all.

Validation of good art

The artist couples a dedication to what he calls the “pure language of painting” (2m:01s) with an interest in how painters differentiate themselves from others.

I think currently many of the major directions in fine arts focus more on presentation and are giving up the fundamental elements of painting. How do artists differentiate themselves from each other through their individual painting language?

He believes that the definition of good art includes the value placed on a work in the market.

A good artist is valid by two aspects, the academic value and the market. Only when these two factors are both considered can we decide whether an artwork is good or bad.

Artists no longer bound by birth place

“I think that art and artists nowadays are international […] It no longer matters where artists [are] from, artworks speak for themselves,” Chen says. According to Chen, while the environments and subjects in his artworks may be based on his experiences, the ideas embedded in the work are the result of a global mindset.

Chen Fei, 'A Miracle', 2010, acrylic on canvas, 170 x 130 cm. Image courtesy Schoeni Art Gallery. Copyright the artist.

Chen Fei, ‘A Miracle’, 2010, acrylic on canvas, 170 x 130 cm. Image courtesy Schoeni Art Gallery. Copyright the artist.

Within his own practice, there is a gap between the speed of his thoughts and physical abilities, something which, perhaps surprisingly, pleases Chen.

One thing that makes me really happy as an artist is that my mind is always faster than my hands. I have a lot of wonderful thoughts in my head, but I paint too slowly, so they are not realized on canvas. In my opinion theses ideas are all really beautiful, and they keep nurturing my inspiration so my career as an artist will be very long.

Art Radar has covered other videos in this Schoeni Art Gallery interview series. Click here to view them all.

About Chen Fei

Born in 1983 in Shanxi, China, Chen Fei currently lives and works in Beijing. A graduate of the Beijing Film Academy, his artwork was most recently exhibited in “Chen Fei: Extravagant Imagination” at Olyvia Fine Art Gallery in London (2012). The artist has shown internationally in numerous galleries, festivals and biennales, including the Animamix Biennial (2009-2010), Beijing, the First Moon River Sculpture Festival at Moon River Museum of Contemporary Art (2008), Beijing, “All Cannibals?” (2011) at me Collectors Room in Berlin and la maison rouge in Paris, and “One Man Theater: Works by Post-80s Artists” at He Xiangning Museum in Shenzhen (2011).

This article was written by a participant in our art writing diploma programme. Do you want to write for Art Radar, too? Click here to find out more about our Diploma in Art Journalism & Writing.

Yu-San Cheng

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Related Topics: painting, Chinese artists, video interviews with artists, painting lives on

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