A Foggy Afternoon | Chen Wei

A Foggy Afternoon 2011 | Photograph 78,7 x 59 Inch

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

A Foggy Afternoon, taken from his latest collection Tight Rope, is a photographic dyptique, separated into two parts of equal size, almost symmetrical in their composition.  The person standing in the right hand side of the photograph, the face hidden by a thick cloud of white smoke, remains enigmatic.  Fascinated by cinematography, Chen Wei is meticulous in setting the scene for his image.

Chen Wei’s photographs recall the dreamlike and nightmarish images of the contemporary artists Jeff Wall, Cindy Sherman or Gregory Crewdson. They can sometimes be compared to the aesthetic work of the Chinese photographer Ma Liang.  His previous series Pain-killer (2007) and Record Hypnosis (2007) are darker and more introspective. In The Every, The Scenery and The Props (2009), the photographer exhibits a growing fascination for science, philosophy and everyday objects.

Born in 1980 in the Zhejiang Province, China, Chen Wei lives and works in Beijing.  Before turning to photography, he composed experimental music.  Exhibited in Asia and internationally, he has been commissioned by both magazines and fashion brands.  In 2011, he received first place in the Asia Pacific Photography Prize, part of Shanghai’s contemporary art fair.  The sombre worlds that the artist translates into images are the fruit of time spent in his studio.  The photographer differs from his older colleagues in terms of the political and social aspect of his work: he is part of a new generation of Chinese artists born in the 1980s, who are developing their expression and their individual freedom, and questioning the place of the individual in modern China, submitted to seismic economic changes.

The settings of Chen Wei’s photographs, their aesthetic almost 1960s in style, can make one think of the films of Hitchcock and Kubrick, and the theatrical and surrealist style of his shots permits the viewer to create his own narration within a hypothetical reality, and in absolute anonymity. Chen Wei’s photographs are a concentration of a myriad of childhood memories, isolating the viewer in a strange atmosphere, that is not without optimism or hope, despite the disintegration of of the identifiable paradigms.