Chen Man X The Peninsula Hotel Global, Pink Ribbon Charity Auction and Exhibition, The First Stop, New York City 2016.9 — 2016.10
Chen Man signs with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) as a director July, 2016
"Guest Speaker", ‘Chinese Mellenials: New Minds in an Old World’ at Beijing University organized by Young Presidents Organization, April 17, 2016
"Guest Speaker", ‘China’s Art Generation’ at Harvard China Forum, Harvard University, April 9, 2016
"Guest Speaker", ‘China’s New Art Wave’ at Wharton China Summit, University of Pennsylvania, April 2, 2016
Chen Man awarded Tencent’s Annual “Real Me” award alongside thirteen other most influential figures across China,Tencent, China, December 2015
Chen Man as the only Chinese female recogized in Tencent’s 2015 International “World’s Most Influential Women” Award, Tencent, China, December 2015
"First Look" Exhibition featuring Chen Man's <Four Seasons: Sprint> and <Long Live the Montherland>, Asian Arts Museum, San Francisco, USA, September 2015
Chen Man Solo Exhibition, LA Louver, Los Angelos, USA
"A New Attitude" , solo exhibition. Redline Art Center, Denver, USA, March 1 - April 27
"Follow Her Steps" Exhibition, Grand Gateway 66, Shanghai, China. October, 2013. (Crossover project by Coach×Chen Man)
"Vladivostok Biennale of Visual Arts, Vladivostok, Russia, August 21 to September 1
"Artist Special Project", Como Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand, April
"Chen Man", Four Season Hotel Singapore, March 2-31
"Alternative Perspectives in Asian Contemporary" Photography, Galerie Steph, Singapore January 22
"Soul", i-D magazine & JOYCE, The Enjoy Museum of Art Today, Beijing, China, October 25
"Future Pass World Exhibition", Today Arts Museum, Beijing, China, October 13-29
"Fotoever" - Stieglitz Gallery 19, Tour&Taxi, Brussels, Belgium, October 4-7
"31" - Special Collaboration Chen Man & Alan Chen, Land Crawford, Hong Kong, May 15- June 15
"Glamorous Futurist by Chen Man" Exhibition, Diesel Art Gallery,Tokyo, Japan, February 16- May 11
"A New Photography Show by CHEN MAN", Chinese Art Centre, Manchester, February 10- April 7
"MAN" Visual Arts Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Shanghai, China, November 23-February 7 2012
Solo Exhibition, Zodak Gallery, Miami, USA, November 20-December 3
"Beautiful Light" - Chen Man & Yves Ullens , LOFT Gallery, Paris, France, November 4-30
"OxyGène Suite"- Special project with Chen Man, Hotel Lutetia, Paris, France, July
"Élan" - Solo exhibition, Today Arts Museum, Beijing, China, April 23-May 8
"Love of the Earth" - Charitable auction for Shanghai Expo, Elle China and LOFT Gallery Paris, Shanghai, China, June
"Love of the Earth" - French Pavilion Shanghai Expo Beijing, Shanghai, China, June
"The Exhibition of China Photography of 100 Years", Shanghai World Expo
"Red Beauty", Fabien Fryns Fine Art, Los Angeles, USA, May 28-30
"Version 2.0" - Solo Exhibition, LOFT Gallery, Paris, France, March 7
"Chen Man work 2003 - 2010 publishing", 3030 press Hong Kong, China, March 13
"Unbearable Beauty"- Solo Exhibtion, OOIBOTOS Gallery, Hong Kong, China, March 12 Solo exhibition F2 Gallery, LA. USA, March 10
In Fashion Photo Exhibition, Miami, USA, December 1-7
Solo exhibition, Gallery Maeght, Paris, France, November 13
Chinese Contemporary Art Show - Maeght Gallery, Barcelone, Spain, October
Art Beijing, Beijing, China, September
Contemporary, Shanghai, September
Chen Man the Wall, Ullens Centre of Contemporary Art (UCCA), August
"Mannism", Gallery When, Shenzhen, China ,July
"Atelier de Pekin", Gallery Maeght, Paris, France, July
"The Demolition Party" by Phillip Stark, Le Royal Monceau, Paris, France
"Design China", V&A Museum, London, England, March-June 2008
"Version" Solo Exhibition, Galerie Loft, Paris, France, January 24 - March 24
Get It Louder, Moderne Weekly, Shanghai, China
Salon National d’art Contemporain, Espace Cardin, Paris, France
"Force of Love", Nike space 706, Beijing, China
Get It Louder, Moderne Weekly, Shanghai, China
"The Wave"- Chinese Media Art Part 1, 1997-2004 Short and Experimental Films, Walker Art Centre, USA
Fashion and Style In Photography, Moscow, Russia
"Beijing-Dezoned-Paris", Le Cube, Issy les Moulineaux, France
"Out the Window-Spaces of Distraction", Tokyo, Japan
"The Designed in France, Made in China" PAUL RICARD, Paris, France
"Short is More-Emotions", CAPALBIO International Short Film Festival Awards
Macromedia"Wwwhat? Web can be flash" awards
Born in 1980, Beijing. China
B.A., Photography & Media Studio, Central Academy of Fine Arts
Born in Beijing, Chen Man graduated from the photography department of the design school under the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 2005. Prior to her graduation, in 2003 she had already begun to lay the foundations of her career with the launch of a series of covers she produced for the Shanghai-based fashion magazine Vision—China’s first attempt at a progressive style magazine, inspired naturally at that moment by Wallpaper magazine. Between 2003 and 2007, she created a sequence of cover images that were unique within the history of Chinese magazine covers. Arty, manipulated, fantastical, almost over the top, the images captured the socio-cultural fascinations of the moment: a visual confluence of every nuance of glamour, surface, virtual energy and freedom of the imagination that was seeping into the bedrock of the emergent youth culture of the period. With hindsight, Chen Man’s photographs define that moment, simultaneously heralding the present, and paving the way for a future in which, courtesy of her success, this type of visual language is certain to become ubiquitous. It is amazing to reflect that half a decade ago, Chen Man was forging a brave new path through the prevailing mediocrity: that she was almost single-handedly precipitating a visual revolution.
Chen Man’s choice of field within the arena of photography—style, beauty, and fashion—dovetails with her innate fondness for glamour, and her insistence upon perfected beauty. As a photographer she is licensed to present fantastical illusions. She takes the illusions far beyond the mere moment captured in conventionally shot photographs. Her approach is first and foremost about taking total control of the image she creates: the motivation behind that control being to achieve the ultimate in beauty. Chen Man does this by accentuating every feature of her already beautiful models to a perfection that is almost unbearable, even as it defies the gaze to look away.
By: Karen Smith
In New York city, an enormous fashion event rolls out every May. The Met Gala, often referred to as ‘the Oscars of Fashion’ is the biggest annual fashion event that takes place at the glorious 135 years old Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Among all the vivaciously dressed super stars, a lady in a black traditional Chinese robe carrying a diamond gourd is drawing all the attention. That’s her, Chen Man, the Chinese photographer appeared in the 2014’s ‘The BoF 500’ of the world renowned fashion website ‘Business of Fashion’. She is the first Chinese photographer on the Met Gala’s guest list in over 40 years.
For over 12 years, almost every major celebrity in and out of China has been photographed by Chen Man. These artists have been exploring, evolving, and finding a brand new self in the works of Chen Man. Her photography style has been transforming at a rate parallel with her growing reputation. Harper’s Bazaar now believes it’s time for this ‘Made in China’ visual artist to emerge from the backstage to the spotlight.
In March 2014, Chen Man was shooting a cover shoot of Rihanna, the Barbadian singer for Harper’s Bazaar. black-laced fan. The singer was stunned by the Chen Man’s creative style, and commented that Chen Man was the ‘coolest’ photographer she had ever met on her own Instagram post with the cover photo. To date, this picture received 38,000 likes and 3,402 comments. Rihanna wore the exact same headpiece again at the Met Gala in New York City in May 2015. Like all the other celebrities: David and Victoria Beckham, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Sophie Marceau, Rihanna became close friends with Chen Man after the brief photography encounter and found the shooting experience unforgettable.
Like Harper’s Bazaar, Chen Man’s works with all the major celebrities grace the covers of many top fashion magazines. Zhang Ziyi, Zhou Xun, Shuqi, Fan Bingbing, Li Bingbing, Vicki Zhao, Sun Li, Angelababy etc. are also household names in China who have worked with Chen Man. They’ve evolved alongside of her over the past 10 years, who is now able to fully capture and reinterpret their personality and beauty. They would even pose naturally without make-up for the camera at her request, for they trust that she can handle such real natural qualities. Chen Man reiterates fashion in a way that represents her deep insights into human brilliance and prosperity.
“Great souls are androgynous,” she utters after a photo shoot with Lin Ching-Hsia. Indeed, she always sees the unknown in people, female of male. The year 2014 marked the 36th anniversary of Director John Woo’s and Hark Tsui’s friendship, Harper’s Bazaar invited Chen Man to create using her very own visual language a cinematic dialogue for the two sophisticated male figures, knowing this is what she does best. mixed art style of western and eastern, coquettish and aristocratic, contradiction and unification. Chen Man always discovers new elements hid inside her subjects. ‘She sees deeper than you see yourself’, ‘She’s capable to discover the unknown part of you” are the consistent expectations people have towards Chen Man.
From “The BoF 500” nomination in 2014 to Met Gala’s 2015 invitation, Chen Man’s global influence has increased constantly. She is the only Chinese photographer who’s been interviewed by VOGUE US, VOGUE ITALY, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Der Tagesspiegel, and Libération. Chen Man claims that her mission is to gather, integrate and deliver information. She knows how to capture the versatility of expressions and multiplicity of cultures. Regardless of the subjects, she sees their destinies and makes sure it doesn’t slip away.
June 5th, two days after her birthday, Hublot signed Chen Man as its first female Chinese brand ambassador at 798 Art District. She conquered this LVMH watch brand with her talent and visual expressiveness, and proved that her own image is worth equal attention commercial value.
As Chen Man said herself, her works are particularly for ‘sophisticated eyes’. She was not only the first Chinese artist to work with MAC’s on its limited edition collection, the ‘Love & Water’ video and photography campaign also won the Oscars of Commercials that year – the One Show Award.
Chen Man excels in many different areas. She is a painter, a fashion photographer, film director, a mother of two, a promoter of traditional oriental philosophy, and a modern visual experimental artist. To summarize her works, her entire artistic development is divided into 3 stages: 1. Her “Vision” series represents her innovative ideas during her college life. The photo “The Astronaut” became part of the permanent collection in world’s renowned museum, the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum during her senior collage year. 2. The ‘Long Live the Motherland’ series is her own expression of modern Chinese beauty which has been commented by Der Tagesspiegel as ‘the reformation and appearance of Chinese fashion”. 3. Chen Man created a conflicting yet harmonic combination of traditional Chinese philosophy and fashion. She believes that ‘our own selfishness and suffering are to some degree, caused by our confusion between the self we expect to be and the one everyone else expects us to be’. The first two stages are her explanation, and the last one is her expression.
To the ordinary eye, Chen Man already has succeeded. Constantly winning art competitions at a very young age and begins to collaborate and shoot for magazine covers before graduating school, Chen Man was the top graduate at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing and she’s unstoppable.
She created lighting composition systems for oriental facial features while most photographers struggle to find their own style; she built her own production system in a 2,000 square meters photography studio suitable for multiple parallel production while others are still working instinctively and alone.
Chen Man embraces Chinese traditions and carries them throughout her identity and artworks. Her logo is comprised of two Chinese characters of her name in calligraphy, simple and philosophical. She finds sparks when East meets West, as the ideas contained in her ‘Philosophy of Images’ lecture and her works. She communicates a great sense of humor through her work too, Dominico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the co-founders of Dolce&Gabbana were depicted by Chen Man playing Mahjong with Chinese actress Fan Bingbing. Fan Bingbing’s iconic ‘shaving beard’ image on Esquire Magazine won the national reward of ‘Best Cover of the Year’.
Reporter: Could you please describe yourself?
Chen Man: A sloppy and lazy woman on the outside and a calm and concentrated man on the inside. A unity of conflicts. I know when to loosen up and when to tighten down. As my friend Wan Baobao describes me: ‘Turtle plus lightning’.
Reporter: Did you figure that out during the process, or you knew it from the beginning?
Chen Man: I’m not really sure, that’s the typical female thinking, logic comes after love. I rely on my gut instincts rather than reasoning, I believe that’s more accurate, sometimes it’s just restrained by our social behavior pattern. That’s why I said, sensibility is the true science. If you work under the rules and gain the approvals both from the majority and minority, then you are half way to achieving success.
Reporter: Compared to celebrities, how does it make you feel to work with business people?
Chen Man: I’m best at visualizing what you feel deeply inside but don’t express on the outside. If someone commented on your work by saying “I think it’s special”, it means you’re not doing a good work, a good work can never be described in words.
Reporter: For most of the time, are you serious, do you focus on work, or something else?
Chen Man: I actually like to tell jokes. My dad is funny, that influences me a lot. Humor has always been a part of my works.
Reporter: Is there anyone or anything you don’t enjoy working with?
Chen Man: Someone that refuses to be himself.
Reporter: Do you give up if you can’t come to an agreement?
Chen Man: It doesn’t matter. I can satisfy him as the one he thinks he is.
Reporter: Do you feel bad about that?
Chen Man: No, some people will spend their whole life as the one he sees himself as; others will live their life through the eyes of others, and still others will just be him or herself, after passing all the phases, a true ‘you’. But you may be lost during the process. It’s like you asked for God’s help, and He helped you out, it’s because you have faith in Him; He didn’t help you, it’s because He has faith in you. Don’t be serious in life, but be serious in playing.
Reporter: I’m curious about all the ideas you have for life. Did you figure that out on your own, or is that a result of conversations?
Chen Man: Normally I don’t have the time to talk. This could be the longest conversation I have ever had. I’m just a medium of information. After my seminar, I get questions like: “How did you figure all that out?” “Be in the empty state. The information did not come from my mind, I’m just a carrier, a tunnel of some certain information in the universe, and then I deliver.” That’s my answer.
Reporter: What is photography?
Chen Man: A tool to seize the moment, which helps people to overcome the insecurity of time. Of course, cameras are constantly in the state of emptiness; we are always enthusiastic in placing the limited on the infinite.
Reporter: What’s your definition of beauty? And what about luxury? How would you deliver from those?
Chen Man: Randomness is crucial; Yin-Yang exist in our world simultaneously. What’s luxury? Something that is not replicable, like the treasures in the Imperial Palace, the tea you had in a village, who you met today. Those things are all unique. Birds chirping under the blue sky in the morning is also. Birkin is not.
Reporter: How do you take balance between commercial and artistic works? And how do you distinguish them?
Chen Man: There is no balance to be taken between those, they are actually in a romantic relationship. Artists also duplicate their own works, so that they could gain surplus value. Arts are commodity as much as iPad. Don’t try to distinguish between the two; it’s one of humanity’s limitations.
Reporter: Most people recognize you as fashion photographer, but we know you have multiple identities: Designer, painter, movie director, promotor of traditional oriental philosophy and etc., How do you take balance among those different identities? Do you have a preference, or consider one of those as a career direction?
Chen Man: Those are all means, all software installed in this hardware which provide various information to different users. I gather, integrate and deliver information.
Reporter: How do you capture/observe a scene? How do you add sentiments and thoughts into it?
Chen Man: There’s a unity required between body and soul. I take photos in the way my soul tells me to.
Reporter: I saw some negative comments on your Weibo, why didn’t you ever do anything about that:
Chen Man: I normally don’t response. And if I have to, it will just say “Don’t worry, I’m not a good person.”
Reporter: There is this article spreading on the internet that says you’re the most expensive photographer, what do you thing about that?
Chen Man: This is not a world of rich, this is a world of conscious.
Reporter: Any photography habits?
Chen Man: Nothing but being lazy.
Reporter: Where do you gain peace from?
Chen Man: The inner peace comes from my heart.
Reporter: I’ve read an article that divided your work into 3 stages. Can you tell us about your own interpretation for that?
Chen Man: I see the sky, the earth and the people, then I know I’m close to seeing myself.
This is Chen Man, who does not worry about the obscure future, only focuses on this clear moment. She enjoys the conflicts in her own personality, for the conflicts are the ultimate experience in life.
She is Chen Man, who express China’s voice on the international visual stage.
Born and raised in China, Chen Man is deeply influenced by Chinese traditional culture. Chen Man’s art explores the significance of the tradition in the country’s development. In Chen’s opinion, Chinese visual art has progressed from pure copy to self-exploration and then independent creation, followed by her thinking of traditional Chinese values coexisting with modern Western techniques. In this new era filled with different cultures and media, Chen found her own art language.
In the first phase of her art, around 2003, Chen formed a unique visual language based on traditional painting skills developed from her college years, mixing her paintings with the photos in the process of editing. The “Astronaut”, her best known piece, was displayed in the China Design Now at V&A Museum, London and is held by the museum as part of its collection.
In the second phase, Chen’s artistic expression became more free and diversified. With more mature and exquisite techniques, she develops a brand new way to blend together elements from Chinese and Western cultures. Focusing on the traditional under a modern background, the artist combines the wide scope of Chinese philosophy and the western forms of expression through her innovative visual language. The Skateboard Girls and Funky Greatwall series became her trade marks at that time, being introduced respectively by the NY Times and the Der Spiegel of Germany and praised as the representatives of Chinese visual art innovation.
Now she has come to her third phase. One of her most famous art series, the "Red", is based on the Buddhist conception of everything coming from the heart. Everyone can be the Buddha. Form itself is emptiness; emptiness itself is form. All these perspectives are clearly reflected in her works. The human bodies are the only elements shot by camera, while other elements are post-produced by computer. One of the characteristics of these works is to integrate Buddhism into the subjects, which is an innovative religious language in her art. Everything and everyone can be the Buddha. In her eyes everyone has the unique energy that become the specific “form” and “emptiness”.
Focusing on the subject of environment protection, her new works the "Five Fundamental Element" series and the "Four Seasons" series, are conceived to discuss the similarity of the micro system of individual and the macro system of the earth. She believes an individual is but a cell of the organism known as Earth, which plays a key role in the establishment of global information network; The Chinese culture, which boasts the tradition of attaching importance to the harmony between human and nature, emphasizes the great responsibility of carrying forward the growth and development of the Earth system itself. All the individuals constitute the macro living system which is the Earth.
Western and Chinese culture might seem like two incompatible systems from a historical point of view. In today’s cyber world, this combination of Chinese and Western culture is incomparable. The result is a neutral yet dazzling aesthetic that have people nicknaming it ‘the mule era’. Everything seems so perfect together as it appeals to the traditionally inappropriate and also more conservative viewers. Chen Man glides across the same boundaries with ease, her work has paved the way for a future in which this style of visual language has become ubiquitous. Chen Man today is a visual icon to this era.
Most of Chen Man’s work is in the portrait format; which is taken from her point of view. Chen Man believes in equality and that no matter the age difference, sexual difference or status, we are all human beings. Engraved in Chinese culture, it has been stated a while ago that people have a great responsibility to help the growth and development of the earth. We are all part of the same giant macrocosm, every individual a cell, a microcosm with its role to play in this big web of global communications.
Chen Man interprets her fine work by using a unique visual language, without losing the independence, individuality and especially without losing the sense of the existence of life. She expresses her value in a new unprecedented way based on the old Chinese saying 'Love is the greatest moral among all'. Back in 2003, at the early phase of her career, she used her own independent visual language, combined with the skills she learned from academic painting to explore her fantasy in photography based print media. Her signature piece at this phase was Astronaut. It has been collected and exhibited at the “China Now” exhibition in the V&A MUSEUM in London 2008. At her third phase, the RED series was an inspiration from the philosophy of Buddhism – “worldly—escapism—existences". Other than shooting with a camera, her work involves a lot of post-production work. It is here that the textures, forms and the visual elements within the original photograph are reworked. She excels at featuring religious elements in her work, as she believes 'All living things are Buddha'. A believer that Buddha doesn't have to just sit on a lotus flower, Chen Man views everyone as having their own charisma.
Born in the 80s, Chen Man oversaw the changes of China after the Revolution. She calls herself ‘the generation that witnessed our dream come true ’. Born and raised in Beijing, Chen Man has never been abroad. Like most people her age, the Internet gave her the chance to discover the Western culture. She believes the growth of China’s visual art culture has been through the stage of ‘massive duplicates production, to a more individual duplicate stage, then from discovering ones own to a final stage of self creation period, thus leading a new cycle of mass production period’. Chen Man herself is a special individual in this so-called ’Metamorphosis’ era. In the era of the hybrid mixing multi- media, Chen Man came out with a new independent art language, which started a revolution in the visual photography industry. Her Skateboard Girls series and Funky Greatwall was published in NY times and Der Tagesspiegel.
With the enormous population in China, Chen man has underlined some of the key issues: How to develop harmoniously in a country that has such a large population? What kind of role does Chinese traditional culture play in the growth of the country? We may lose some important traditional theory due to conflict? The environment production and human issue and so on are fully described above all the topics emphasized. Her new work “Four Seasons and Five Elements”—exemplifies these key elements. For example, ‘water’ in the ’five elements’ shows the melting moment caused by global warming. Models are chosen specifically with five different personalities. In the four seasons, every heavenly king has its own understanding of traditional Chinese culture. Once again Chen Man uses her own visual language to illustrate the portrait of the Queen, with traditional and modern languages. "Four seasons" is an incarnation of justice, power and wisdom. The heavenly king of the East represents the spring, with the power growth; The Southern King represents summer, her clothes are ingeniously combined with honey, flowers and bees etc. Western king is the king of harvest, it convergences gold, she particularly chose a Caucasian model with a golden snake wrapped around her arm to emphasis the "heavenly king"; And the king of the north represents winter, Chen man applies concept with Chinese Taoist culture- 'water mirrors the darkness', a dark skin "heavenly king" launching God's power on top of the mountains.
Long recognized as a photographer by the public, Chen Man is exploring far beyond that: she is a painter, a photographer, an artist as well as a designer, an advocate of traditional Oriental philosophy as well as an important defining character and creator of modern Chinese aesthetics. This diversified identity may be summarized in one word: visual artist.
Chen Man’s works can be observed in three stages, of which she had been explaining for herself in the first two stages. A representative work of art during the first stage is the Visual series, created when she was studying in university and laid a foundation for post-productions. All these attempts, brimming with youthful passion, represented an accumulation of numerous factors to create a lively and exciting scenario. In fact, up to now, there has not been a second photographer attempting to follower her suit. The Astronaut in this series became part of the permanent collection of V7A Museum in Britain in 2008.
When challenged with questions about the “excessive employment of postproduction” in her works, Chen Man suddenly switched to an ultimately simplistic stage without any transition, as she began to take make-up art photographs which resemble enlarged 1-inch photos. Meanwhile, the “Man style” in the use of lighting in photography has created a trend in China. The ultimately simplistic photography refreshed her image, making it known that she was not only an expert of postproduction. Invited by numerous celebrities for photography, Chen Man established her prominence as a mainstream photographer in the fashion circle by that time. Her cooperation media include internationally influential magazines such as VOGUE, ELLE, BAZAAR, MARIE CLAIRE, L‘OFFICIEL, VOGUE(Italy), i-D, MUSE(Italy), PREFERENCE(France), Madame Figaro, UNLIMITED(New York), WALLPAPER. The cover photograph taken by Chen Man in 2010 for Bazaar China 24th Anniversary Edition was awarded 2010 Global Best Cover by Harper’s BAZAAR Global Chief Editor Conference, the first time for Bazaar China to win such an honor.
While most Chinese photographers are still imitating their Western counterparts in exploring their individual styles, Chen Man has already set out for her artistic journey of the second stage: Contemporary Chinese Background Series. During this stage, a positive image of contemporary Chinese fashion is created in her works, as she is the first Chinese photographer working with Chinese models and using well-known scenic spots in China to express what contemporary fashion in China is. hysical world; would be the balance between idealism and materialism and the global recognition of traditional Chinese values in life, nature, universe and humanity. Only then can beauty and peace be brought upon the earth, clean air and water be accessible for human beings and a future of love and harmony be created.
“This series is very special to me as I am the first photographer using contemporary Chinese background and faces in mainstream fashion photography. China has always been imitating Western countries as well as Japan and Korea, and this (contemporary Chinese background) has been a virgin land for a long time, since it would look like kitsch if not properly done. I am capable of exploring into this field because I am familiar with the visual industry. I started to learn painting at the age of 2, and have spent years in the academic circles of academy of fine arts, and I believe that it is something I should do. In my works of the second stage, what I would like to express is not a simple restoration or renaissance of culture. Rather than repeating past stories of China, I would like to illustrate what Chinese beauty looks like in the contemporary context.” The most famous in this series of works is the photos of Lv Yan taken on the Great Wall, which marked the first time that mainstream fashion magazines photographed on the Great Wall. After being published, the story behind theses photos appeared on Der Spiegel, a German magazine, with the comment that they “represented the new look and reform of Chinese fashion.” In 2009, Chen Man photographed a fashion series featuring famous model Du Juan, with Oriental Pearl as background, for China Pavilion of 2010 Shanghai Expo. This classic work of art, representing the positive energy of China’s contemporary beauty, has appeared on many foreign media.
Rather than contenting herself with the striking success of the second stage, Chen Man continued to explore and started her art creation of the third stage, a stage where the Chinese sprit is expressed through application of Western techniques. It all started in 2010 when Chen Man cooperated with M.A.C, a world-famous make-up brand, in creating “Love and Water” Global Limited Edition, where she combined traditional Oriental philosophy and culture with eco-friendly concept and fashion, thus an embodiment of the environmental concept of harmony between universe and humanity. After publishing this series, she was interviewed for Vogue (United States) feature story, and the video clip she created and directed for this series won the Copper Pencil Award of One Show Design in The One Show, known as Oscar in the advertising industry. In 2011, she created Five Elements and The Four Seasons series, with the visual statement of “a lifestyle and thinking mode that develops in consistence with the development of the Earth” as its theme, an idea that is most needed by contemporary humanity. This represents the visual expression of representing Chinese sprit through application of Western techniques and combining form and soul. In 2012, upon a special invitation by i-D, a UK-based visual magazine, Chen Man produced the Youthful series which demonstrate how mass power of humanity influences the world’s future, in which she personally undertook all tasks from theme selection and planning to camerawork with the maximum freedom granted. Her muse in this special production is again “Man’s Philosophy”: “With the pursuit for material prosperity as humanity’s behavioral habit around the world, only by changing the traditional lifestyle based on materials and the social system circulating around monetary gains upon which our life is based. by replacing the lifestyle with material behaviors and financial circulation system as precondition by growth and development in consistence with the original growth rhythm of the earth can be change the world. This is what I call in seeking no accomplishment everything is accomplished - in shared development and evolution there is Tao, the Great Way, so that we would be the rising stars of the future in a true sense as living creatures in harmony with the earth. The idea of rising star does not aim at changing the world by any one-man hero, as in traditional belief, as every human being is a hero, a star in a sense.”
The third stage sees the perfect convergence of “traditional Chinese philosophy and culture” and “fashion”, which seems ultimately self-contradictory and beautifully balanced. As for the future, she believes that the most important progress would be significant development in spiritual communication of humanity rather than figures; would be achievements which is invisible to the naked eye rather than constraints within the physical world; would be the balance between idealism and materialism and the global recognition of traditional Chinese values in life, nature, universe and humanity. Only then can beauty and peace be brought upon the earth, clean air and water be accessible for human beings and a future of love and harmony be created.