Chen Dongfan:Long Past Dawn, Pirates and Poets Whistle in the Dark

17 Oct 2020 – 19 Dec 2020

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Chen Dongfan:Long Past Dawn, Pirates and Poets Whistle in the Dark

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Fou Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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  • The closest train station is Kingston-Throop Avenues (C Train)
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Fou Gallery is delighted to announce that the new exhibition Chen Dongfan: Long Past Dawn, Pirates and Poets Whistle in the Dark, will be held from October 17th to December 19th, 2020.


  • Open House: October 17–18, 11 am–6 pm, by appoinment
  • Curator: Lynn Hai
  • Location: Fou Gallery, 410 Jefferson Ave #1, Brooklyn, New York, NY 11221

NEW YORK - Fou Gallery is delighted to announce that the new exhibition, Chen Dongfan: Long Past Dawn, Pirates and Poets Whistle in the Dark, will be held from October 17th to December 19th, 2020. Two of Chen’s new oil painting series Poster and Story created during the COVID-19 pandemic, and a latest large oil painting Rise From The Ashes will be shown to the public. The title of the exhibition is a combination of the titles of three works in Chen’s Story series. Chen incorporates mythic elements in his abstract-impacted expressionistic oil paintings and discovers their new meanings in contemporary life in response to current events and topical opinions. A two-day open house with the artist’s presence will be hosted in the first weekend of the exhibition, registered by appointment only to maintain social distance.

As the pandemic swept across the world, Chen Dongfan had to reduce his contact with the outside world. Being unable to commute between his studio and apartment in New York City, Chen decided to focus on small-size paintings that he could finish on his desk at home. Since the pandemic and self-quarantine began, his access to the abundant outside information has been considerably diminished due to the reduction of communication. As a result, he has turned to online resources and allocated more time to read literature. In this process, the formation of myths, stories and fictions has attracted Chen’s attention. He became interested in how stories and visuals were formulated through time, which therefore influenced his thinking process in generating these new works. 

In the Story series, each work is drawn on Chinese rice paper whose size is similar to an opened book. Chen presents his drawings in a form that is closed to a diptych: on the left side, there is a line of a literary text in the middle of the paper; on the right side, Chen abstractly captures his impressions in the fantasy realm and visualizes them on the paper. Based on the text, Chen frees his imagination, searching for mythic elements, and begins to create characters and plots in his mind. Then he allows the imaginary images to flow from his brain onto the pieces of paper through his brushes. To finish, he turns back to the first piece of paper with the text and continues his painting over the text. This gives his visual fiction an ending that echoes the beginning. Thus, his Story series implies a timeline of narration, presenting not as a frozen moment of the climax of a tale, but rather the whole process of how a story develops and transforms.

The Poster series are direct records of Chen Dongfan’s struggles and confusions while quarantined at home. On Chinese rice paper and plastic packaging paper, Chen uses intense colors to draw distorted figures, making manifestos about suffering and adapting to this traumatic and bewildering time. Experiencing the loneliness and overwhelming uncertainty in his vivid images, the audience will feel linked with Chen’s emotional experiences during the pandemic. In the exhibition, the Poster series will be presented alongside the Story series, jointly constructing the spiritual world of Chen Dongfan during the uncertain time for the audience.

Rise From The Ashes is one of the first large oil paintings after Chen attempted to move back to his studio, in order to resume working in his most familiar environment. It was when the pressure of the pandemic began to be slowly alleviated in New York. In terms of the style and the subject, Rise From The Ashes is consistent with the Poster and Story series. Yet the more gestural strokes and the dramatic contrast of colors somehow reveal Chen’s ecstacy of seeing the dawn of returning to normal life. Although the future situation of the pandemic is still uncertain, Chen’s first large-size practice after him being restricted by a small desk for long reflects his unyielding invigoration and optimism.

Compared to Chen’s earlier works his two most recent series both turned from abstract strokes to more figural images. Influenced by the literature he read in the past months, Chen’s visual language reveals a great extent of poetry and literariness. Even though Chen has absorbed and adopted many mythological elements, he never uses any image of known mythic characters in his recent paintings. What he is truly looking for is the meaning beyond the dramatic storylines, which is the awareness of critical thinking or a state of spiritual understanding of the world.

  • 展览开幕: 10月17日—18日,上午11点—下午6点, Eventbrite预约参加
  • 策展人:海良
  • 地点:否画廊,纽约布鲁克林区Jefferson大道410号#1

纽约 – 否画廊荣幸地宣布,新展《陈栋帆:漫长的黎明,海盗与诗人在黑暗中吹口哨》即将在2020年10月17日至12月19日举办,展览将呈现艺术家在新冠疫情期间创作的两个新油画系列《海报》和《故事》。展览标题即是《故事》系列中三件作品标题的组合。陈栋帆将神话元素融于其受抽象影响的表现主义油画中,并根据时事和潮流去发掘神话在当代生活中的新含义。展览的第一个周末画廊会举办开幕接待会,艺术家会在现场与观众交流。接待会需预约参加,保证画廊空间中的安全距离。







Artist - CHEN DONGFAN (b.1982, Shandong Province, China) 

Chen obtained his B.F.A. from the Total Art Studio of China Academy of Art, Hangzhou in 2008. Since 2014 he has lived and worked in New York and Hangzhou. Chen Dongfan has actively participated in various public art projects and has created large scale paintings around the globe, including “Sun Yat-sen Road in Color” (New York, 2020); “The Song of Dragon and Flowers” (New York, 2018); “Live Before You Die” (Greece, 2016); “Where Has Happiness Gone” (Hangzhou, 2011); “Uncertain” (Hangzhou, 2010). The artist received special acclaim from American National and New York's House of Representatives for his exceptional contribution to the area and its community. His recent exhibitions include: Chen Dongfan: Long Past Dawn, Pirates and Poets Whistle in the Dark, Fou Gallery, New York (2020); Chen Dongfan: Forgotten Letters 2020, Platform China, Beijing (2020); Chen Dongfan: Sanctuary, The Yeh Art Gallery, New York (2020); Chen Dongfan: Heated Bloom, Inna Art Space, Hangzhou (2017). ​

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Lynn Hai

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Chen Dongfan


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