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Matthew Liu Fine Arts is pleased to announce the Beijing-based artist Chen Han’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. In this new body of work, Chen created a complicated psychological space from his own perspective. In a series of images in his signature dark brown palette, the artist depicts various “atypical” venues and locations, and segments of the “indecisive moment” in life. These sceneries are exceedingly intuitive, evoking casual snapshots of daily life, or random stills from a movie. However, the strong psychological atmosphere in these imageries encourages the viewers to stay and appreciate the multilayered surrealist tampering and fabrication that are embedded in.


A combination of ivory black, ripe brown, olive green and other colors, the main tonality of these intense psychological images is woeful and melancholic. Resembling the electrocardiogram, the artist’s brushstrokes invite the sensitive viewers to sense and appreciate the smooth or undulating textures, and the corresponding rhythm of the heart. With his unique palette, brushstrokes and textures, Chen acts as a director and stage designer, laying out a set of sceneries of contemporary theater. The tensions are hiding beneath the elegant and decent garments and demeanor of the people, and under the ostensibly silent water surface.


The artist created three-dimensional spaces on the surface of the two-dimensional canvas. The protagonists he depicted often enjoy an affluent life, yet appear to be depressed or contemplative whether they are alone or with the company of others, although it seems there are no obvious reasons for their anxiety. As a result of the rapid development of science and technology, the production and circulation of information has become increasingly expedient. Virtually, everyone is striving to impress. However, the actual relationship among people has become even more estranged. This is especially evident when people are physically engaged in the same room. Evoking dark dreams, the paintings of Chen Han are filled with a strong sense of despair. People hide their true and profound feelings about each other. Even when they find themselves in solitude, they are not relaxed or joyful, but appear to be lonely, confused or even silently weeping.

Like film stills, an image can only contain limited information, which is characteristic to the medium of painting——the viewers could capture the main idea at a glance but its connotations demand further contemplation. Exploiting this unique feature of painting, Chen Han created sceneries that appear to be narrative in nature, but renders them ambiguous and hazy. There is no beginning or ending to the stories at all. The script is only in his own mind. The viewers are denied the information regarding where these scenes and characters come from, why they are behaving in this particular manner, or what kind of ending they are heading toward. Therefore, we can only try to relate with our own life and try to complete the entire story. At this moment, our own life and the imagined protagonists begin to interweave, and these gloomy sceneries on the canvases start to merge with our lives.

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