Chen Zhe

The Bearable & Bees


Chen Zhe, the bearable body woundChen Zhe’s first series, The Bearable (2007-2010), is a reflective documentation of her dark, though occasionally euphoric, history of self-inflicted harm. Chen continued to penetrate the psychological labyrinth of self-realisation in her subsequent project Bees (2010-2012). By expanding her photographic observations with a collection of letters, dairy entries, online chat histories, quote fragments and scribbles that she exchanged with her subjects, Chen searched after the possibility of “another way of telling” in the aim of portraying the disquieted souls, the wounded bodies and the elusive link between the two.

The project is also published as a layered notebook which weaves in and out of images and texts. The publication restores Chen’s practice as an ongoing process of exploration, discovery and research. What happens when actions that can jeopardise one’s existence, such as hurting one’s own body, in return serve the purpose of understanding the existence itself? Should we see it as a fluky escape, or a relief from the weight of modern life?

Chen Zhe (b. 1989, Beijing, China)

Artist Chen Zhe received her BFA in Photography and Imaging from Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Her career took a real lift off in 2011 after she won both the Three Shadows Award and the Inge Morath Award from the Magnum Foundation. She has been exhibited worldwide and won numerous awards. At the core of her practice is research and exploration often tempered by a psychological inquiry of self and surroundings. Her work often takes combines photography with installation, sound, objects and texts.

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