Artist Talk: Chen Dandizi

When I studied at the 5th art studio of the oil painting department at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, compared to other studios, we had more freedom in choosing a medium of practice. The teacher taught us classical painting, contemporary installation, photography and showed us experimental videos in class. We were free to select the medium most suitable for our expression. Early on, I wrote poetry and prose, through which I sought out a window of expressing my feelings. After I studied art, I had more ways of expression. In my opinion, no matter what form the work takes, it’s critical whether the medium and form are suitable for the creator’s intended presentation.

Both works in this exhibition, whether as moving images or not, are related to alienating human emotions; meanwhile, both share an external impetus that generates an internal reaction. Just as in the video work, the footage played on a monitor that shows the abuse of human power is the trigger, and what projects on the white canvas are the unease, confusion, and fear stirred by totalitarian control. Likewise, the sharp horseshoe occupying the road in this installation is also a trigger. Stepping on the horseshoe’s tip would lead to stabbing pain, which I adopted to refer to the severe and dull pain people feel in their emotional relationship. The question then becomes whether one would withdraw quickly from the process of experiencing pain or gradually evolves to build up a thick layer of the hoof-like horn to wraps around the body and the ego so that such emotions would retreat to an idle state.

The “emotional alienation” embedded in these two works revolves around anxiety, loneliness, autism, or madness. In some sense, these seemingly more familiar and personal emotions in modern society demonstrate alienation from others. Internally, both works gradually accelerate the accumulation of emotions without leaving viewers any exits. Like the online footage of hunting animals in the video, I thought it was shocking and cruel when I first saw it, but after I watched it multiple times, I became desensitized. I guess this is the fundamental reason for the comments under this video claiming, “Humans are the most dangerous animal in this world.” Because the human mind would gradually desensitize, in this regard, it shares the same numbing impact as repeatedly getting stabbed from the installation.

My video works exist simultaneously with those made in other artistic mediums, primarily when I worked on personal projects. I hope that when I present my exhibition, it will be similar to telling a story. It should have a main character and a supporting character, literal narrative and supplementary portrayals, straightforward and obscure descriptions, and so on. I try to avoid showing an exhibition where materials or media are the same, or all of the works tell the same story or of the same image. There is contention between the mediums because they are all languages the artist adopts, so what kind of conflict would there be between the physical and the elusive? When these different types of work form into an exhibition, they can exist independently or in combination. Any of the works could dominate over the others or be complimentary. In such a way, a physical space consists of both moving images and figurative elements would allow a more accessible layout of emotions or metaphors. Like the jungle, there are both water cascades and rapid currents and the quiet trees, which together form a natural space.


Chen Dandizi

(b.1990). She graduated from the oil painting department of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. Dandizi’s works are characterized by a symbiosis of media: Her use of video, installation, photography, and literature form integral parts required to illuminate intimate, short-lived moments in time, and human emotion. Her works explore the perception and experience of encounters with reoccurring phenomena of the natural and artificial world. Dandizi’s art explores central themes such as self-knowledge and observation of her lived environment. Revealing the fleeting nature of hidden connections between a unique moment and emotion is at the heart of her creative process.
Her recently solo exhibition includes: Fear, No Fear, ( Times Art Center Berlin, 2021 ); Tropical Room (Hua International, Beijing, China, 2020); A Severe Hangover (Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, China, 2018). Selected Group Exhibitions: A Long Hello——The Eighth Huayu Youth Award Finalist Exhibition 2020 (UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2020); Under the Sign of Saturn (ShanghART M50, Shanghai, China, 2020); The South is Not an Island (OCAT Shenzhen, Shenzhen, China, 2020); Touching Feeling (Hua International, Beijing, China, 2020); Materializing Memory: Contemporary Video Art From China (University Art Gallery Frick Fine Arts Building University of Pittsburgh, America, 2019);  Story:Born After The ’85 New Wave Generation Y of Contemporary Chinese Art, (Beijing Contemporary Art Expo, Beijing,China,  2019); Inner Scapes (Galleria continua, Beijing, China, 2018); Crush (Para Site, Hong Kong, China, 2018); Chinese Video Artists Festival (Mexico national culture Digital Center and Museum of Arts of Querétaro, Mexico, 2017);  Fleeting Memories & Written Notes,(Capsule Shanghai, Shanghai, China, 2016); Mere Existence (Canton Gallery, Guangzhou, China, 2016). Finalist of The Eighth Huayu Youth Award.

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