Chenhung Chen

Chenhung Chen | Entelechy

Written by: Desiree Cormier
03 – 28 – 2016

Located at: Brewery Art Lofts, Los Angeles, CA
Featuring: Chenhung Chen

Chenhung Chen  is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her BA from the Chinese Cultural University in 1983 and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Throughout her artistic career, she has always been fascinated with the idea of a line.

Chen states:

 “I’m always recognizing the presence of line whether it’s within a drawing, or Chinese calligraphy or painting, and even American Abstract Expressionism….Through the use of line, I try to express feelings of delicacy, buoyancy, motion, power and strength.”

Her newest series, “Entelechy” definitely conveys all of the above! Her 3D work is composed of recycled materials including; copper wire, electrical wire, remotes of all sorts, and some found objects.  In her studio, her installations and sculptures lay across the floor while others hang from the ceiling 8 or 9 feet tall. This is partially due to the simple fact that a friend donated recycled wires and cables to Chen many years ago. It was that donation that sparked this fire for her to create these larger than life, yet approachable sculptures.  For Chen, the wires, cables, and copper convey a sense of the inner force that translates to peace and serenity, while heavily emphasizing the presence and importance of line. Everything about Chen’s newest body of work represents finding a balance between her surrounding atmosphere and the electric industrial lives we live in. It’s about harmony and dissonance, peace and chaos, the beautiful and the grotesque, the subtle and the powerful.

Surrounded by a large number of awe-inspiring “Entelechy” pieces, We Choose Art sat down with Chen to discuss the upcoming show and chat about her other current projects:

We Choose Art:
Your upcoming show is titled “Entelechy.” What does that mean to you?

Chenhung Chen:
There are a couple meanings, it’s a Greek word and the word itself can mean “soul, human soul.” The meaning I’m using is the driving force for inner fulfilment. And there’s a meaning of actualization of some kind of potential, like human potential but you want to actualize it, right? Like, make it happen.

We Choose Art:
Right! That’s a powerful concept! Is this the only project you are currently working on?

I currently have three projects going on at the same time. It gives me a break from Entelechy. I’ve been working on a project where I use staples to create drawings. I also crochet wires and have drawings that accompany it. That project is about the human condition and going within the soul, but it’s a different approach.

We Choose Art:
Speaking of crochet, I see there is crochet work in some of the “Entelechy” pieces.

Yes, those are my most current pieces, besides all of the cables and wires, and the electrical and technological aspect of it, you’ll see there is more of a crochet quality. I tried to combine the two a little bit and I started using crochet to hold them together. It gives this series of work another layer of meaning. I think the original material in itself is already very interesting and I want to put a little more of a feminine connotation into it. It’s like I hold these wires together with more feminine work… and it’s subtle.

Growing up, in school, all girls learned how to crochet, so it’s a very womanly thing in my mind.

We Choose Art:
That’s very interesting. Because you’re aiming to add a feminine touch, is that another way for you to show the balance?

Yes! Exactly! It is all about balance. It also is way of including my background, my upbringing, in a subtle yet modern way. I don’t want it to be the main focus but it pops up here and there in my work. Like with the disassemble Erhu, in this piece. The Erhu is a two-stringed instrument originating in China. My husband had two and one was broken so I took it apart and added it as elements in this piece. I always like to hear the Erhu played. It sounds beautiful, but sad.

We Choose Art:
So in addition to your show at Gallery 825, will you be participating in the Brewery Artwalk?

Yes. I will be opening up the studio!

We Choose Art:
That’s great and our last question is…..Why do you choose art?

I choose art because I have no choice.

Be sure to check out Chenhung Chen’s work at the Brewery Artwalk on April 2nd and 3rd and at Gallery 825 on April 9th at 6pm for the opening reception of “Entelechy.” This show runs through May 6th and believ me, after seeing what I saw, you do not want to miss this!

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Desiree Cormier
Desiree Cormier
I choose art because art allows me to confidently be the bizarre, outlandish weirdo that I am, while also reassuring me that I am definitely not the only one. Art builds character and art builds a community of characters, both of which I ardently welcome.
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