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On October 13th, Pirelli HangarBicocca presented ‘Short-circuits’, a retrospective exhibition curated by Vicente Todolí. It includes more than 20 large-scale installations created from 1991 to 2000 by one of the pivotal figures of contemporary art: the master of ‘transexperiences’, Chen Zhen.

Born and raised in China, Chen Zhen moved to Paris in his 30s and that’s when the ‘transexperiences’ began. The term, coined by the artist himself, vividly and profoundly summarises the complex life experiences of leaving one’s homeland and going from one place to another. Beds, chairs, tables, TVs, toys, cars and urinals: he took everyday objects and deprived them of their actual meaning, assembling the items in peculiar massive compositions, which were able to set aside and renew their conventional role. In one word, a short-circuit.

Chen Zhen’s art can be seen as a constant meeting between the Eastern and Western culture, without any of them ever taking over the other. It’s more like a coming together, a fluid exchange between two different – if not opposite – aesthetics aiming to become one visual synthesis. ‘The purpose of my coming out of China is not to circumscribe myself within another country or region; rather, I left China to embrace the entire world”, he said and then conveyed this message through his most significant works, created in the last ten years of his life, that can now be admired in Milan thanks to numerous loans from major Italian and international collectors and institutions.

Pirelli HangarBicocca will display ‘Short-circuits’ from October 14th, 2020 to February 21st, 2021: there’s no way you can miss this immersive exploration within the complex artistic research of Chen Zhen!


‘There’s no way you can miss this immersive exploration within the complex artistic research of Chen Zhen!’


Credits: Text by Stefano Riboldi – Photos by Sara Ferraris