Organizer: Three Shadows Xiamen Photography Art Centre
Duration: Nov 21, 2020– Dec 20, 2020
Opening：Nov 21, 2020
Location: No. 301, Building 2, Xinglinwan Business Center, Jimei District, Xiamen
Walking into Lan Chen's solo exhibition is like entering a field that is “Rousing from the Tender Light.”Everything in front of your eyes is waiting for light to enter with a slow tempo in the infinite wilderness.
In each one of Chen’s works, time and space overlap. As he described, the emotions and memories expressed in his works are captured in the scope of time and space, which are "a distant home in space and an aged corner in time". 1 Chen takes pure landscapes or things with hidden traces of life as objects and buries himself in them. A wandering state of life can also be found in his works. In a seemingly chaotic narrative, Chen presents the middle ground between meaning and emotion---day and night, life and death, here and there. Chen keeps a distance from those unnecessarily clear definitions and leaves all situations in contradiction and ambiguity in order to capture a "quiet consciousness" in his works. 2
In this exhibition, the original fragmented images receive a continuous narrative—the viewing starts from the side of a horse, and the light spot of its gaze connects the bright moon, the village and the river. All of a sudden, the horse falls, and thus the narrative picks up a sad tone and rolls from day to night. Time narration is involved in the image. Image and text speak to each other, presenting a viewing experience full of details.
The time expressed in Chen's works is not only a narrative logic, but also a kind of duration hidden in each piece. Nowadays, people are shackled by the modern standardization of time and read time as hours, minutes and seconds. In photography, time is precisely divided into 1/N seconds. Different scales affect the display of light entering the camera. However, according to Bergson, time is a continuation. It has nothing to do with stillness. Bergson also distinguishes the spatialized time that we take for granted in our cognition from the real time. Chen's work returns back to the nature of time perception. Time unrolls itself like folds. This kind of performance, together with the emotional view of time and space and the continuity of time narrative as mentioned above, invites the audience to feel and imagine with multi-layers and depth.
With the presence of silent landscapes, fleeting fireworks, or farewells of linked objects and images, Chen's works turn to the spiritual past. The viewing of Chen's work is similar to Roland Barthes's experience of viewing his mother's photos in Camera Lucida. The essence of photos refers to the past, not just the detailed instructions in the sense of semiotics. "There exists another punctum than the ‘detail.’ This new punctum, which is no longer of form but of intensity, is Time." 3 Precisely because of this, Chen’s works present detached emotions. Through his photos, the audience is looking at the moment of silence, and thus perhaps grasps a better understanding of their relationship with the surroundings and time.
1, 2 Introduction to Lan Chen's works
3 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. 96
Chen Lan, Born in Haimen, Guangdong Province, China in 1995, currently lives and studies in Marseille, France. His creative media are mainly photography and film, and he is currently focusing on practical explorations based on personal experience combined with imaging anthropological methods. (He graduated from the Video Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2019, with a bachelor's degree in film and video art, and has studied at the ESADMM Master of Contemporary Art at Les Beaux-Arts de Marseille, France since 2019).