Wisdom or sagacity was once measured in terms of being well versed in “celestial texts and earthly laws.” The human body is the point on which the celestial and the earthly meet. Our ancestors tell time by making innovative use of the body, observing the length of one’s shadow under the sun. In pursuit of temporal precision, future generations make further developments by inventing, upon distinct civilisational foundations, a variety of astronomical instruments. Chen Zhe takes the history of astronomical instruments as a point of departure, dealing with the two maps each individual is born with: a map of one’s cranial formation, and a chart of one’s celestial alignments. By cross-referencing earthly and heavenly inscriptions, the artist aims to measure fever with precision,  and to reflect worldly laws with celestial texts.

人们曾以“上知天文,下知地理”称许学识,而上与下的交汇处恰恰是人的身体。古人以身为度,借由观测自己在日光下的影子习得了时辰 ;后人为了精确地掌握时间律,基于各自的文明进一步发明了观星仪器。受此启发,艺术家将人降世时的出生星图和颅骨缝图视作人类与生俱来的两幅“地图”,通过“其上”(天文)与“其下”(人纹)的相互观照,以“天文”映照“地理”,用 “精确”测量“狂热”。

The title As Precise As Fever comes from Jorge Luis Borges’ poem Insomnia: The universe of this night is as vast as oblivion, as precise as fever. It responds to the dialectics between remembering and forgetting tackled in the artist’s previous work, positioning celestial-human relations in the conceptual space between totality and individuality — “Fever is an infinity, all-encompassing; precision is an infinite number of individuality, multiple and countless.”


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