Zhong was born in Zhongshan,
China and arrived in Australia at the age of 19 in 1989. Zhong’s early paintings ‘Stupid Laughing
Series’ 1996 conveyed the exploration of his cultural heritage. Since
these works, Zhong has continued to explore issues of cultural identity,
transcultural identity, belonging and place. Since completing a Masters of
Fine Arts from the Chelsea School of Art, London in 1998, Zhong has further
explored these cultural issues. A further exploration of traditional Chinese
art has influenced Zhong’s choice of using traditional Chinese subject
matter in his paintings and thus the pixel paintings were developed in 1999.
The pixel paintings incorporate images of Chinese portraits, animals and
landscape, each of which is central to the genre of traditional Chinese ink
brush painting. By using traditional Chinese inspired images Zhong conveys
a sense of his cultural identity. Zhong uses the pixel as a symbol of the
contemporary world that we live in. He has combined the process of using
traditional images with a contemporary pixelated technology and the pixel
is a symbol of the global modern world. Each individual pixel is flat and
combines to make up images that we see in the computer, media and in all
digital technology. The flatness in each pixel has a similar flatness to
the traditional Chinese woodblock prints. By using the pixel, a time in place
is defined, of not a specific culture but of a 21 st Century computer generated
global world. Zhong’s paintings let us explore the technology of
our time and the contemporary changing place of our society.
Zhong Chen is a finalist in the 2011 Archibald Prize with the painting 'Self Portrait on a Horse.'