Chen Zhiguang's Ubiquity
Source:Artintern Author:Fan Di'an Date: 2009-08-08 Size:
In an attempt to build a larger audience base with sociobiology, Chen Zhiguang tries his utmost to endow ants with different appearances and magnifies the symbol of ants so that nobody can ignore their existence.

In the world of contemporary art, Chen Zhiguang's name is almost associated with the ant. In recent years, he has created abundant works, with the ant as the prototype. The seemingly insignificant organism is personified to a variety of vivid roles in human society.

In an attempt to build a larger audience base with sociobiology, Chen Zhiguang tries his utmost to endow ants with different appearances and magnifies the symbol of ants so that nobody can ignore their existence. As a contemporary artist, he feels obligated to figure out the relation between art language and social reality, to find the intersection where self and society overlap, and to directly and intensively depict the features of the society where he lives. The artist's contemporary thought is represented in his way of representing ants. It is his finest effort to transform the ants into a symbol with rich cultural connotation.

Chen Zhiguang uses stainless steel to create his ants. In the world of contemporary art, stainless steel is utilized by many artists, because their dazzling surface corresponds to the complicated reality of contemporary society, especially to the progress of urbanization. Artists love the material because of its potential of indicating contemporary culture. Chen Zhiguang chooses stainless steel with a deeper thought. He intends to build the in-depth relation between material and theme and to make the property of stainless steel an integral part of the theme. In his works, the biological properties of ants are replaced by the metal property of stainless steel. In this way, the ants are converted into a symbol with cultural meaning and the reflection of stainless-steel surface represents the association between the ants and their surrounding environment. Recently, the artist experimentally uses a new technique called stainless steel coloring to forge a stronger visual impact in his artworks.

Chen Zhiguang thinks carefully about how to integrate the ants into the environment as soon as he starts to create the first ant. Earlier, he placed ants in groups and his major intention was to associate ants with social roles. The ants were still mostly sculptures. Later, he tried to make the ants pass beyond the limit of sculpture and he has built an ant world with the methodology of installation art. In a space where ants are ubiquitous, what is important is the overall visual effect, instead of each individual ant. Even the audience can become part of the ant world and experience the closeness with ants. As an effort to further cultivate this closeness, Chen Zhiguang takes the ants into cities and integrates them into buildings, streets and other urban environments. Like a director, he manages the ants in cities and stages one drama of Ubiquity after another.

Ubiquity is a vivid display of Chen Zhiguang's comprehension of art. Undoubtedly, his artworks do not only represent his own feeling of the reality, but also explain our common experience in the world.

Chen Zhiguang's art behaviors and art forms in recent years are organically combined to construct his methodology of art, which indicates his willingness to consolidate and intensify self-awareness. He is an artist with colorful experience. In earlier years, he created flamboyant paintings that combined expressionism and symbolism. This trait would also be represented in his later works. After that, he created numerous sculptures, including large-scale works known as environmental art and public art. In doing so, he accumulated rich experience, which he would use to maneuver the dimensions and surroundings of installation art. In recent years, he feels the deep need to create artworks with both sense and sensibility. Thus, he continually forges new shapes of ants, realigns visual effects and expands the cultural meaning of the ants. He is extremely interested in classical art and has always been exploring how to combine traditional Chinese aesthetics and new material. This is the inspiration of his Scroll series. In this series, he converts traditional Chinese paintings into stainless-steel scrolls. By magnifying and realigning cultural feelings against the background of urbanization, he creates another kind of ubiquity.

The most active trend of contemporary art is the artists' exploration of the connection between visual effect and cultural connotation. Chen Zhiguang's works are undoubtedly an excellent example of this.

correlative links:
UBIQUITY- Chen Zhiguang 2007 -2009

[Editor] 于添