Singapore Contemporary Young Artists

Playing With & For The Community

Chen Ziwei – Our Artist of the Month

Artist Statement:
Ziwei is a recent graduate from the National University of Singapore where she did a major in Geography and a minor in Southeast Asian studies. Prior to her tertiary education, she completed “Art and Design” in her ‘A’ levels. She continued her art practice during university and showcased her works in various platforms such as Noise Singapore and Singapore Art Street. In addition, she has participated in group exhibitions with Fill-Your-Walls Gallery, Post-Museum and Evil Empire Gallery. Her subject matter is partially influenced by the concepts of her discipline where she interprets and represents landscapes and people based on Geographical elements of time and space. She will be pursuing a degree in Fine Art and History of Art at Goldsmiths, University of London coming this September 2010.

Ziwei’s works reveals a geographer interpreting her environment and society through a geographical lens and expressing her views and feelings about them through art. Her subjects revolve thematically on sites of memory that she represents as symbols. The symbols connect to a broader entity of a place/places that have a familiar etching in her memory. Such places vary in geographical scale from that of the home to the nation. Her choice of subjects aims to present an alternative way of seeing the Singapore landscape through the artist’s life till present. Her artistic presentation is inspired by the nature of materials – typically recycled and processed two-dimensional material and how they can harmonize with paints on canvas. Her style developed in junior college where she had the privilege of experimenting with various forms of paint like acrylic and spray paint, and piles of ‘unwanted’ paper.


The House Speaks
Date: 2005-2006
Medium: Mixed Media Installation
Dimensions: 160 (width) x 280 (height) cm approx. (per panel); three panels in all

Description: This installation was done as my A level coursework in Junior College. The ‘House’ is a personified structure that has been given human qualities. It rants about its state of neglect. This installation is supposed to allow viewers to move around it and experience the different ways of viewing it. It is modeled after the actual house that I pass daily and over time nurtured a sense of place with its presence. Bring uncertain about its future development, I decided to give it a ‘life’ to share its past and present feelings before it is given a new facelift.

Dancing Lions at Dawn
Date: 22/04/07
Medium: Mixed Media Painting
Dimensions: 25.5 x 52cm

Description: The three Chinese Lion heads depict the moods of aggression (left), playfulness (centre) and mellowness (right). The head, in which the lion dancer maneuvers, is the most significant part of the lion because it reflects the mood of the lion. This piece was inspired from a lion dance procession I had attended due to my connections through my Chinese Pugilistic Society in college.

Identity Crisis
Date: 14/06/07
Medium: Acrylic paint and collage
Dimensions: 97 x 97cm

Description: This was a self-exploration piece questioning my personal identity. I saw primary colors as fixed categories of personalities that societies tend to categorize individuals into. Yet I believe identities are heterogeneous and ever changing, hence the movement of colors within the composition. The complexity of identity often puts the individual into a state of dilemma and somewhat a life crisis.

Shadows in their Graceful Stride
Date: 21/07/07
Medium: Mixed Media Painting
Dimensions: 75 x 61 cm

Description: This piece encapsulates my experience doing voluntary gallery sitting at Sculpture Square, Singapore. Towards the end of my shift, my weary eyes were treated to a dance by the shadows gliding to and fro at the corner of the gallery. The movement of light was intriguing at that moment. I got a quick sketch of it and developed it into a painting.

Melaka Street
Date: 29/12/08
Medium: Mixed Media Painting
Dimensions: 29.5 x 21cm
Status: Sold

Description: This piece was influenced by my earlier work “The House Speaks” (see [1]) as I was reviewing my college works and coincidentally returned from a trip to Malacca, Malaysia. The shop house, alike my previous house seemed to have an aura of life that had subsided over the years. I chose to represent it as a vibrant entity as I did not want people to forget it just because it looked dilapidated at present.

And Mum said she saw horses in a distance
Date: 25/09/09
Medium: Mixed Media Painting
Dimensions: 29.7 x 42.0 cm

Description: People often overlook sectors of the economy such as the shipping industry in Singapore. One evening, Mum said to me, ‘Look at the horses over there.’ It took a while before it came to my realization what she was referring to. The port of Singapore cranes were still hard at work, like horses in a distance, driving the economy discreetly as most people knocked off for the day.

Melaka Street II: Break of Dawn
Date: 17/08/09
Medium: Acrylic Paint and Collage
Dimensions: 29.5 x 21cm
Status: Sold

Description: Morning begins with a brief exchange of greetings at the junction of one of the streets. The trio then part for work. Even in laid back Jonker Street, Malacca, the routine of urban life still imposes itself on the landscape.

Smith Street, Chinatown (Singapore)
Date: 28/07/09
Medium: Acrylic Paint and Collage
Dimensions: 42 x 29.7cm
Status: Sold

Description: Smith Street, or otherwise known as the famous food street in Chinatown is a familiar place to me as I often visit it during Chinese New Year. Due to the rapid urban development in my country, I decided to paint it as a record of the present as I am skeptical about whether it will remain in its current state for the next few years.

You need it? We have it!
Date: 03/12/09
Medium: Mixed Media Painting
Dimensions: 42 x 29.7cm

Description: Most people in Singapore live in residential towns where their necessities like food and services are readily available within their reach alike a consumer buying an item from the vending machine. This instant culture in us is related to a broader culture in the globalizing world where consumption trends like fast food demand efficiency and satisfaction.

About isk

Impulsive, obsessive-compulsive, and potentially psychic.

2 comments on “Chen Ziwei – Our Artist of the Month

  1. Benny Oentoro
    September 9, 2010

    I love the composition and great combination of colors. Good job!

    • Ziwei
      September 9, 2010

      Thank you very much. Glad you like the works!

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This entry was posted on September 9, 2010 by in Featured Artists.

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