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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

ISBN: 978-7-5503-2941-6

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

ISBN: 978-988-14574-5-5


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.

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