Chen Wenbo Depicts Everyday Subjects in Giant, Fractured Paintings

by CaroPosted on

Toilet paper, keys, pills, and dice are just a few of the every day subjects that Chinese artist Chen Wenbo depicts in his larger than life, hyper-realistic paintings. Chen once explained that he is most interested “in the surface of things”, something he explores in his exaggeration of small details. His subjects almost feel important in their massive scale, which allows us to appreciate details like their vibrant colors that would otherwise be overlooked. Most of Chen’s works are irregularly shaped, distorted or fractured in a way that looks like broken glass. His latest body of work draws upon the theme of the “Fat Years”, inspired by the Chinese dystopian thriller written by Chan Koonchung. The novel is set in 2013, when China has entered a “Golden Age of Ascendancy”, while Western nations have stagnated after a second economic crisis in early 2011. Inevitably, there a few suspicions that the characters set out to uncover. The book has been banned in China for posing uncomfortable questions about the Chinese government and how the economy is run. The government’s facade of prosperity and contentment is mirrored in Wenbo’s paintings, who paints things like luxurious cars and stock market boards to look attractive and enticing. He then breaks the enchantment by abruptly fragmenting each image into pieces. Chen considers himself both an artist and a critic, and it is through this kind of subversion that he diffuses his political stances. Chen Wenbo’s “The Fat Years” is currently on view at Klein Sun Gallery in New York through November 14th, 2015.

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