Thinking of History at My Space

By Long Museum West Bund

The Art of Chen Yifei

Chen YiFei (1946-2005) was born in Ningbo, Zhejiang province. Chen graduated from Shanghai Fine Art School in 1965 and in the same year entered Shanghai Oil Painting&Sculpture Institute to work on oil paintings. In 1980, he went to study in the United States, and later started to work on oil paintings in New York. He returned to China in 1992 and set up his own "YIFei Studio," thus entering the nascent cultural industry in China with his concept of "Big Vision, Great Art Chen”. He had a great influence on the areas of oil painting, filming, fashion and environmental design, and was well-known as a Chinese artist both at home and abroad. died of illness in 2005 in Shanghai.

Chen Yifei, Li Yongsen, From the collection of: Long Museum West Bund
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China’s Cultural Revolution ended in 1976. After that, a series of literature and art works, known for a “scar” theme, produced both introspection and accusation towards this period of chaos within the Cultural Revolution. This oil painting by Chen Yifei was created in 1978.

Emancipated Serfs Love Chairman Hua, Wei Jingshan, Chen Yifei, Ren Lijun, 1977, From the collection of: Long Museum West Bund
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Ode to The Yellow River (colour sketch) by Chen YifeiLong Museum West Bund

This painting was a self-portrait. The painter places himself at the forefront of the picture, while in the background, the suffering of the modern history of China since 1912 is depicted with startling clarity and depth.

These historical images are placed layer upon layer, like faded photographs arranged in a classical film montage.

The sixtieth anniversary of the 1919 event(May Fourth)corresponded with Deng Xiaoping's 1979 emergence as China's new leader. He revived the use of May Fourth slogans, particularly a quartet which praised science and democracy and attacked imperialism and feudalism. In this self-portrait, the artist appears to gaze at a photographic collage of events that took place in the revolutionary struggles of the 1910s and 1920s. Like all urban intellectuals of the time, the artist may be reassessing his nation's progress in fulfilling these goals, but his introspective response to his nation's revolutionary history is ambiguous. The multiple interpretations thus possible give this work its lasting psychological power.

Thinking of History at My Space by Chen YifeiLong Museum West Bund

This oil painting by Chen Yifei was recommended by Joan Cohen, a member of the American Cultural Delegation, which visited China in 1979. Her articles on Chen Yifei and his work was responsible for launching his worldwide fame. 

The Flutist, Chen Yifei, 1987, From the collection of: Long Museum West Bund
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Zhouzhuang by Chen YifeiLong Museum West Bund

Upland Wind by Chen YifeiLong Museum West Bund

Credits: Story

Director:Wang Wei
Data compilation:Liu Jingwen

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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