Friday, May 06, 2011

by Taylor Williams

In Zhu Xian's interview with his alter ego, Chen Zhen, he explains his complicated and often confusing  philosophical definition of transexperiences.  In its most basic form Chen Zhen describes transexperiences as "complex life experiences of leaving one's native place and going from one place to another in one's life". Xian's alter-ego quickly expands this idea to the artistic world, saying transexperiences represent an experiential rather than conceptual concept of art. This confuses Zhu Xian and his alter ego is forced to explain in greater detail by using Buddhist quotes as well as describing transexperiences as, "Cultural homelessness, namely you do not belong to anybody , yet you are in possession of everything". Xian's alter ego has a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of the world and is able to comprehend that a concept can be at once an artistic concept and a "universal life definition".

The interview than shifts to Zhen's actual experiences and his description of his formative transexperiences in Paris. He also details and explains some of his more famous works such as "Round  Table".

At first glance it is easy to dismiss this self interview as a narcissistic artist basking in his greatness. After reading through the interview, the narcissism cannot be completely dismissed but there is much more to this interview. Zhu Xian effectively uses this gimmick to explore some very deep material. He also uses this as an opportunity to do some legitimate soul searching and ask himself many tough questions that he may never have vocalized before. 

No comments: