Recipient of the Sculpture Workshop Prize.
My name is Jiefei Chen. I was born in Sichuan Province, China, and moved to Adelaide, Australia, with my family when I was fifteen, and live in Melbourne now.
The city I was born in is called Yibin, a small city surrounded by three rivers, where there are many legends about dragons. The Chinese culture I grew up in made me curious and I yearned for the creatures of mythology from a young age.
The idea of my artwork is to use artificial materials (metal, plastic, etc.) to create artworks with creatures that can symbolise nature. Through my works, I want to express the blurred boundaries between beauty and ugliness, life and death, and human and animal. I use the grotesque art style to interpret my works because it has both positive and negative meanings—this blurred boundary is exactly what I want to express. It is precisely this ambiguity in the relationship between humans and nature that we call for its protection while destroying it.
This project is based on the theme Life and Death. The project’s central idea is to use metal materials that are not living beings to create artworks that symbolise living beings. In this way, it is also intended to express the relationship between natural creatures and human society. The project is a combination of grotesque art. The synonyms for grotesque are mysterious, magnificent, fantastic, hideous, ugly, incongruous, unpleasant, and disgusting. It is a style between beauty and ugliness that expresses the joy and sorrow of life and death.
Through my artwork, I hope to alert people to be more aware of the pollution of the environment because the reduction of biodiversity caused by pollution, for whatever reason, ultimately causes irreversible harm to us—humans ourselves. For example, one consequence of this natural imbalance is the emergence of deadly diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, and the COVID-19 virus we are experiencing now.