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28 Chinese

Unnamed Room No. 2
by Chen Wei (Chinese, b. 1980)
Archival inkjet print, edition 3 of 8

Courtesy of Rubell Family Collection, Miami.
© Chen Wei.

Chen Wei constructs imaginative, detailed scenes that read as snapshots of a mesmerizing narrative formed from personal memories and fantasies, science, literature, and everyday life. Amid a host of eccentric objects, a solitary figure often appears in a confined space, his presence adding tones of alienation and abjection. A sense of suspense emerges, as if something mysterious just happened that we are left to decipher.

"I started studying what kinds of environments and objects provide [the] sentiment of nervousness and absurdity, or the kinds of mechanical spectacles inhabiting our space. Slowly, the human figure started to disappear within my photographs and so did the narrative components—the scene and objects occupying it became the central concern. I construct these different scenes in my studio, assembling and organizing the objects together. As such, the scene and the objects inhabiting it constitute the narrating tools themselves. Through this process, I hope to face some taboo issues and attempt to express existing contradictions." —Chen Wei