Chen Wei perceives photography as a means of offering his own specific and subjective view of the world, often highlighting the malaise in modern life. Working as designer, constructor, and photographer in his Beijing studio, the artist meticulously builds each scene into an almost-life sized model. In his decade-long ongoing project, New City, the artist addresses with a degree of irony banal environments and objects, referring especially to those people and constructions which quickly disappear from the consciousness, if not from existence. In a country so focused on replacement, renovation, and material progress, Chen Wei explores the poetics of ephemera. Chen Wei’s subversive theatrical stagings combine conceptualism and skilled craftsmanship to articulate, in their quotidianness, a nostalgia which seldom finds a place in present-day China, inspiring the viewer to ponder the true meaning of progress.
——Holly Rousseau 容思玉