Staging Images and Texts: “Self-archivization” in Chen Zhe’s Toward Evening: Six Chapters
Tingting Xu, University of Chicago
In Toward Evening: Six Chapters, Chen Zhe (b. 1989) experiments with a narrative intertextuality that transcends the boundaries between literature, hand drawings, and mechanically produced pictures. By letting the text and image interflow and grow within each other, the six chapters with their rich references provide an eloquent yet convoluted discourse on why the twilight hour is so enchanting, and how it enchants humans across time and space. Using this work as an example, this paper discusses how a new type of symbiotic relationship between images and texts is established by the youngest generation of contemporary East Asian artists. Through citing, interweaving, erasing, and transforming images and texts across a variety of sources, Chen revises the East Asian painting-poetry tradition and turns it into a verbal-visual experience that addresses the emotional and poetic experiences universally shared by human beings when looking at the skyline at dusk.