The stranger… and while I blossomed all alone, the world slumbered During her residency in the Swiss town of Monthey, Chen discovered large boulders – some the size of houses – hidden in a near-by forest. Rivers of ice transported them down from the mountains over the centuries, and while the glaciers have receded, the boulders have remained. The boulders serve as monuments to the glaciers that once were – containers of time, made to rest in a place that does not belong to them. Chen photographed them, creating a sensitive, human meditation on the ebb-and-flow of nature and her personal response. Chen’s boulders exist at the edge of light: close to the lamps of the city, shaded by the forest. She captured them at dawn and at twilight, hours when the light is thin and time becomes muddled. The “The stranger… and while I blossomed all alone, the world slumbered” emerged. In its intimacy with the natural world and feeling for the divine, it calls to mind the poetry of the German Romantic Friedrich Hölderlin. It occupies a place of reverence, triggering a reappraisal of the unknown – and unseen – powers of nature.
Chen’s practice is tied to a natural, oriental aesthetic, influenced by Western abstract art and oriental philosophy.Read more