• Issue
  • Mar 04, 2021

Milan: Pirelli Hangar Bicocca

The late conceptual artist Chen Zhen described the moment of artistic creation as a “short-circuit” generated by presenting commonplace objects in unexpected combinations and contexts. Named for this idea, the artist’s recent retrospective, curated by Vicente Todolí at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca in Milan to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Chen’s death, showcased 24 iconic installations from 1991 to 2000 that represent central concerns in his practice, from globalization and consumerism to the healing power of art.

Born in Shanghai in 1955 to a family of doctors, Chen was diagnosed with incurable autoimmune hemolytic anemia at the age of 25. A painter and scenographer by training, he decided to move to Paris in 1986 to pursue his vision of a transcultural practice. He died in the French capital in 2000.