Chen Zhou: How Can I Be Plural

2020.12.17 Thursday



Commissioned by Macalline Art Center, Chen Zhou’s new video work responds to the question: “How can I be plural?” The piece is a continuous questioning of the institution’s positioning of itself. Chen Zhou uses a bone and a fire as the main visual elements, conveying the various relationships between individuals and institutions through the eyes of an artist. The shape of the bone resembles the letter “I”. The bone is passed to each individual around the fire before eventually becoming part of the fire. The evolution from singular to plural existence is an escape from the primal boundaries of the self, rather than an increase in the number of people involved.

About the Artist

Chen Zhou

Born in China in 1987, Chen Zhou is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice involves cinematic language, painting, and writing. He believes the act of labeling is a prison and that freedom resides in that uncertain moment before definition. Whether it is by exploring death in contemporary life or by deconstructing our existence in a humorous way, his works revolve around imprisonment and liberation. Always attempting to dismantle restrictive structures, Chen Zhou's works reveal the absurdity of labels and shed light on the uncertainty of today's world. 

Chen Zhou currently lives and works in Shanghai. His first feature, Life Imitation (2017), received the New: Vision Award at the CPH: DOX Film Festival, the Asian Perspective Award at DMZ film festival, and has been included in the Official Selection of the 61st BFI London Film Festival. He was also named one of the ArtReview Future Greats for 2018.


The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.