Thursday, December 02, 2010

On Chen Zhen and "transexperience"

Zhu Xian’s interview with Chen Zhen, or rather, Chen Zhen’s interview with himself (thus the two will be referred to as separate individuals to respect the artist’s intention) reveals Chen’s concept of transexperience. As Chen Zhen has put it, Transexperience is “a kind of fusion-transcendence experience…which summarizes vividly and profoundly the complex life experiences of leaving one’s native place and going from one place to another in one’s life.” Chen also states that “Transexperience also represents a concept of art,” which he cleverly tied to concepts of Buddhism. When Zhu Xian misunderstands the concept as he wonders how transexperience can be both a deep artistic concept and a “universal life definition” at the same time. Chen Zhen responded by alluding to the Buddhist concept that every living being has the “sense of a Buddha,” similarly to how transexperience can be a life definition that is applicable to everyone. However, transexperience also has deeper underlying meaning, which Chen refers to as a type of “cultural homelessness, namely, you do not belong to anybody, yet you are in possession of everything. This possibly refers to the fact that not everybody can reach enlightenment in Buddhism. The interview diverges into Chen’s multiple transexperiences and many of his philosophy on both life and art. It is interesting how Chen Zhen’s responses may seem personal and detached to everyday life (especially his pseudo-philosophical beliefs), many can probably relate their own stories to him as some kind of “transexperience.”

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