Chen Zhe╱PICK YOUR POISON, BEES & THE BEARABLE
We are excited to announce the coming of the 3rd printing of Bees & The Bearable by artist Chen Zhe, along with Pick Your Poison, her first collection of interviews. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the completion of Bees & The Bearable, Pick Your Poison highlights 8 in-depth dialogues between Chen Zhe and her peers spanning from 2011 to 2022, with a special feature of the artist’s latest correspondence with her long-time friend, writer and filmmaker, Ag. The one-on-one conversation has been crucial throughout the 15 years of Chen Zhe’s practice. By presenting these two books that echo her persistent method of creating, we invite you to revisit both the artwork and the back stage, and to discover the artist’s labor and process that is at the same time painstaking and fulfilling.
Pick Your Poision, edited by Chen Zhe
Format: Hardback, 352 pages
Dimensions: 215 × 135 × 20 mm
Publisher: China Academy of Art Press
Presented by Jiazazhi Press
Design: Cheng Yinhe
Language: Chinese, English
Publication date: 2023-2
Printing round: 2023-2, first edition, first printing
Table of Contents
To the Border, Unravel! Strike Out!
The Sky Writes Straight Lines with Curves
Creating as a Process of Fine-Tuning
All Suffering Yielded to Changes into Serenity
Nothing Is Unbearable
Live in the Afterglow
Chen Zhe & Guang Yu in Conversation on the Artist’s Book
Open Wounds on Your Body and Leave Life in Them
The title of Pick Your Poison is inspired by Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám: "While you live/Drink! — for, once dead, you never shall return." It means relentlessly exhausting life. Editing this collection of dialogues with writers, critics, scholars and designers, artist Chen Zhe re-examines her artistic experience from the last decade, frequently calibrated: between unconscious seeing and conscious blindness, between completed artworks and forthcoming projects, and between a roaming self and an unchanging self. "After all, the life of a creation needs to be judged by time, but the life of an artist is his/her own responsibility: a daily practice as natural as breathing, a career path leading to one challenge after another, or a sensuous expression of the most intimate emotions" — these constitute most of the artist's life.
Bees & The Bearable, Chen Zhe
Format: 1+19 saddle-stitched booklets, 280 pages
includes 75 color plates, 40 grayscale journals & letters
Dimensions: 260 × 210 × 25 mm
Publisher: Jiazazhi Press
Design: Guang Yu, Xu Lei
Language: Chinese, English
Publication date: 2016
Printing round: 2023-2, first edition, third printing
Presented as a layered notebook weaving in and out of images and texts, Bees & The Bearable restores Chen Zhe’s practice as an ongoing process of exploration, discovery and research. What happens when actions that can jeopardize one's existence, such as hurting one's own body, in return serve the purpose of understanding the existence itself? Should we see it as a fluky escape, or a relief from the weight of modern life? While the individual response may differ, the book illustrates that there still lies psychological connectedness that undoubtedly link each of us together. Everything else follows from there.
Bees & The Bearable was awarded the Best Photobook of the Year by Kassel Fotobookfestival in 2016.