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CHEN ZANXI | 陈赞西

  • Lives in: Chongqing
Chen Zanxi (b. 1982) was born in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province, completing his undergraduate education at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 2005, and post-graduate study at the same institute in 2008. His work juxtaposes the icons of socialist and capitalist culture, such as the Sugar-Coated Bullet series, in which proletariats march past Colonel Sanders in the place of Mao Zedong, or Marilyn Monroe and a pistol-bearing female soldier act out a scene from “The Red Detachment of Women.” Although young, Chen Zanxi is already concerned issues of China's past, exploring how it informs an anomalous present. Recent works have drawn from more operatic sources, emphasizing the theatricality of history, such as paintings based on revolutionary operas with its characters posed in a press release-ready tableau of emotion and drive. In his works derived from China's red past, Chen Zanxi wonders if the present has become “an embarrassing pink,” its revolutionary zeal diluted by the changes of the last few decades.

A WORD FROM THE ARTIST

“Sugar-coated bullet” refers to medicine coated with sugar, except that here the medicine is replaced with a deadly bullet. It is a metaphor for using clever disguises to trick people into happily welcoming an enemy attack.

Chairman Mao created this phrase soon after the founding of People’s Republic of China in order to guard against backsliding. It was a warning to those party members whose revolutionary spirit was slack to be on guard against the enemy’s hidden efforts to invade or entice defectors.

Ever since China’s policy of reform and opening, our achievements and economic developments have captured the world’s attention. This prosperity, however, also brings some negative aspects. While fast-food culture delivers speed and convenience, some precious qualities from our traditional culture are quietly being destroyed.

CURRICULUM VITAE

1982Born in Panzhihua, Sichuan Province
2005 Bachelor's Degree in Oil Painting from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute
2008Master's Degree in Oil Painting from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute
Exhibitions
2008“Sichuan Picture View” Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Graduate Student Exhibition, Hangzhou
5th Annual Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Graduate Students Exhibition, Chongqing Fine Art Museum, Chongqing
2007Invitational Graduate Student Exhibition of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute
National Exhibition Outstanding Works from Art Academy Students, Beijing
Yuesai Kan New Talent Exhibition, Shanghai
2006Annual Exhibition of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Department of Oil Department
2005Sichuan Fine Arts Academy Graduate Students Exhibition, Chongqing Fine Art Museum, Chongqing
2003Annual Exhibition of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Department if Oil Painting, Chongqing
2002Annual Exhibition of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Canvas Department, Chongqing

ARTWORK