The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) of the University of Hong Kong is collaborating with Chen Xi on the exhibition “Chen Xi: So We Remember” from March 2 to May 15, 2016. The artist created this series of contemporary images to commemorate, to document and to provoke thought. The paintings illustrate important events that have shaped our modern world. In the current show, we present her preliminary pen and watercolour drawings along with the finished oil paintings.
Meticulous in her research and true to both the documented incident and the domestic details, Chen Xi creates historical paintings for our present and future generations. Her method directly relates to contemporary life and to a society that is informed and influenced by modern-day media. Interestingly, the artist does not simply depict a historic event, but frames within a TV screen each episode of her sequential and international narrative. By presenting the paintings within the TV’s glass, they become screen shots linked to a specific moment in time and space, as well as to the living room setting where the news would have been seen. In addition, the exhibition includes four early paintings that relate to the TV series and Chen Xi’s development as an artist.
Chen Xi’s connection to her audience is as multifaceted as the international community viewing the paintings. Individuals are reminded of the broader implications and specific details of the political or social events being depicted. In concert with this, viewers are drawn in, sometimes uncomfortably close, to the domestic interior within the work. The artist’s dialogue recalls and re-presents a moving tribute to the events, and we are thankful to Chen Xi for this opportunity to share such an intimate encounter.