Che-Wei Chen’s recent practice has focused on the subjectivity of people with mental disorders and reflected upon the complexity of contemporary conditions. He explores the boundaries between reality and fiction through multiple perspectives within complex structures and narratives. His work not only reveals the repressed collective unconscious but also re-examines the power and political structures underlying the social system. Besides, the artist also addresses issues such as postcolonialism, modernity, classification, biopolitics, etc.
Chen’s new film Spear, which lends its title to the exhibition, will premiere at Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Chen collaborates with a friend, an actor with a dissociative disorder. The film starts with the individual experience and attempts to transform this fragment of traumatic memory into an artistic way. At the same time, it also involves hypnosis. The film unfolds a compound experience intertwined with reality and fiction, trauma’s specter and fragmented memory. The trauma is the same as the moving image here; they are constantly intertwined and suddenly emergent.
The work Spear examines the situation of the human being under the state of violence and the mute condition of language. We gain an insight into the archetypes of trauma: violence, power, oppression, control technologies, etc. What we see is no longer just the bare life of the individual, but a microcosm of the collective trauma. Furthermore, it implies the disciplinary, power and domination exercised by the ideological state apparatus.
15.11. – 15.12.2019
Tue - Sun: 2 - 7pm
Che-Wei Chen, Spear, 2019, Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Photo: David Brandt