post-title Chenchenchen | THE MERCY OF NOT KILLING | Migrant Bird Space | 16.06.-20.07.2018

Chenchenchen | THE MERCY OF NOT KILLING | Migrant Bird Space | 16.06.-20.07.2018

Chenchenchen | THE MERCY OF NOT KILLING | Migrant Bird Space | 16.06.-20.07.2018

Chenchenchen | THE MERCY OF NOT KILLING | Migrant Bird Space | 16.06.-20.07.2018

until 20.07. | #2035ARTatBerlin | Migrant Bird Space presents from 16th June 2018 the exhibition  THE MERCY OF NOT KILLING by the artist Chenchenchen.

Chenchenchen (陈陈陈, a.k.a. ccc, b. 1987) is a Chinese conceptual artist best known for his performance “The Mercy of Not Killing 2.0”, in which he hung ten construction workers from the rims of a 34-meter high tower. In his work, ccc often employs the human body to ponder the social conditions of modern society. Working in performance, digital art, painting and sculpture simultaneously, his multi-medial projects interact and constitute a series of parallel worlds. They are coherently arranged into ccc’s futuristic panorama of “Poor Sci-Fi”: a techno-dystopian vision derived from the struggles of everyday life.

Performance of Mercy of Not Killing 2.0 in Wuxi, Feb. 2017
©  Image courtesy CCC – UCCA Beijing

His work is smart and spectacular, addressing issues specific to Chinese culture while noting the individual ramifications of life in a globalised world. Where traditional values and norms seem suspended, ccc projects a humanistic vision, highlighting the positive powers of universal human values. Following ccc’s seminal presentation at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing in 2017 and numerous exhibitions in China, this is his first solo-show in Europe. On view will be interactive multimedia installations, large-scale photo prints and mixed media from two long-term bodies of work: “The Mercy of Not Killing” and “Possible Babies”.

The exhibition is a joint project of the international art-agency & pop-up gallery MO-Industries and the gallery Migrant Bird Space, which has been shining a light on the best of Chinese contemporary art in Berlin and Beijing since 2015.

The Mercy of Not Killing is a series begun in 2016 with Chenchenchen’s performance at MING Contemporary Art Museum in Shanghai: grabbing on to a beam, he hung ten meters high above the main floor of the museum, suspended in mid-air for about an hour (MONK 1.0). The subsequent “Mercy of Not Killing 2.0” (MONK 2.0) was commissioned by the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. It was conceived and directed by ccc in February 2017 in Wuxi. In a setup that seems to derive from a classical action movie, ten construction workers held on to the edges of a former water-tower as though about to fall to their deaths. A circling drone documented their plight. The dire, dystopian outlook of these works raises questions about common humanism and universal connection, voluntary compassion and the suspension of brutality in everyday life. The monumental performance was presented as an interactive multi-media installation at UCCA’s seminal group show “The New Normal: Art and China in 2017”. CCC will recreate a site-specific setup for his solo-show in Berlin, while also adding new works to the series.

ART at Berlin - Migrant Birds Space - ccc - Performance of Mercy of Not Killing 1.0 2016 Images courtesy ccc - MING Museum Shanghai
Performance of Mercy of Not Killing 1.0 at MING Museum, 2016
© Images courtesy CCC – MING Museum, Shanghai

Drone-footage of MONK 2.0:

Artist Statement: “‘The Mercy of Not Killing’ depicts an interpersonal relation that is easily overlooked in nowadays society. It refers to a situation in which one individual restrains his will in various ways to avoid killing others around him. This mercy can be viewed as a joint positive power, generated by balancing a variety of forces that a human of modern society has to bear. A glamour of humanity beneath this social order will be ultimately unveiled. From its real life representations, the exhibited artworks are devoted to extract this delicate relationship for audiences to explore.” (Chenchenchen)

Possible babies originated from ccc’s ongoing exploration into “successology” and “genealogy”, topics particularly relevant to Chinese culture. The series began in 2012 and comprises a variety of media such as manipulated photography, digital design, painting, sculpture and, most recently, the video-game “Find Chenchenchen and Kill Him”, which was developed in conjunction with the art-project space “Wyoming Project” in Beijing 2017. In an old-school virtual world reminiscent of the Counterstrike games of the early 2000s, the player interacts with ccc’s “possible babies”: the artist’s virtual offsprings, created in previous works.

Amongst the plethora of ccc-lookalikes, the gamer has to find CCC’s avatar —the father figure— and kill him. The uncanny scenario opens up a multitude of connotations and issues: patriarchy, hierarchy and incest, cultism and collective consciousness and what the artist describes as a narrative of “benign narcissism.” In conjunction with MONK, “Possible Babies” continues the motif of virtual death.

Stills from “Find Chenchenchen and Kill Him”, 2017
© Courtesy ccc – Wyoming Project, Beijing

POOR SCI-FI & Successology
Chenchenchen’s conceptual approach to art covers a wide range of media: digital art, performance, painting, sculpture, installation and music. While each individual project has its own unique themes and is carried out by distinct means of representation, ccc’s artworks meticulously assemble into his main conceptual framework of “Poor Sci-Fi”: a science-fiction devised from normal life rather than from a glamorous utopian vision. ccc regards “Poor Sci-Fi” as an experimental construct generated from our common fears and primitive desires. An additional clue to CCC’s long-term research is “successology”, the study of the concepts and meaning of genealogy, success and successorship in the most literal sense of these words.

These terms are of specific relevance in today’s China, where the one-child policy was only abolished as recently as in 2015. “Successology” is also the focus of Chen’s current PhD project at Capital Normal University, Beijing.


ART at Berlin - Courtesy of Migrant Bird Space - Chenchenchen

1987 — born in Hangzhou, lives & works in Hangzhou & Beijing
2010 — B.A. in Mixed-Media Art, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou
2012 — M.A. at the Studio of Total Art, School of Inter-Media Art (SIMA), Hangzhou
Since 2014 — PhD-candidate at the
Department of Philosophy, Capital Normal University, Beijing


2018 Chenchenchen: The Mercy of Not Killing, MO-Industries & Migrant Bird Space, Berlin
2018 Dragon Station, Yanqingli, Shanghai, China
2017 Possible Baby, Wyoming Project, Beijing, China
2016 The Mercy of Not Killing 1.0 (Performance), MING Art Museum, Shanghai, China
2014 Teaching and Learning, Art Museum of Nanjing University of Arts, Nanjing, China
2013 Zoology, Inna Contemporary Art Space, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
2010 Empire Pavilion of Successology, WUBEI Gallery, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China

2017 The New Normal: Art and China in 2017, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
2016 China Now, Oxo Gallery, London, United Kingdom
2015 Try It Again, <24ARTnaissance>, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
2014 Wish You Were Here, ART SANYA, Sanya, China
2014 Aquaculture Plan for the Homo Sapiens, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
2013 Wish You Were Here, Documentary Academy Award of China, Beijing, China
2013 Wish You Were Here, Focus on the Future Talents of Art , Beijing, China
2013 Wish You Were Here, Polyphonic: 21 versions, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
2012 Empire Pavilion of Successology, Reading at Night, London, UK
2012 Empire Pavilion of Successology, 8090 Youth, Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
2010 New Post Photography, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China

For a comprehensive list of shows and performances:

Work by Chenchenchen

Vernissage: Friday, 15th June 2018, from 7 p.m. The artist will be present.

Exhibition period: Saturday, 16th June to Friday, 20th July 2018

Zu Migrant Birds Space


Image caption Cover: Performance of Mercy of Not Killing 1.0 at MING Museum, 2016 © Images courtesy CCC – MING Museum, Shanghai

Exhibition Chenchenchen – THE MERCY OF NOT KILLING – Migrant Birds Space | Zeitgenössische Kunst – ART at Berlin


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