The 2016 Kassel Fotobookfestival “Best Book Award”-winning “Bees & The Bearable” by Chinese artist Chen Zhe combines two of her series in one layered notebook-style photobook.
Her series The Bearable (2007-2010) reflects on the artist’s history of self-harm, the series Bees (2010-2012) continues the theme by examining Chen Zhe’s complicated journey towards self-realization. In addition to Chen’s many photographs, the book combines diary entries, chat logs, quotes and scribblings (all also available in English translation) to form a contemplative layer.
“What happens when actions that can jeopardize one's existence, such as hurting one's own body, in return serve the purpose of understanding the existence itself? Should we see it as a fluky escape, or a relief from the weight of modern life? While the individual response may differ, this book illustrates that there still lies psychological connectedness that undoubtedly link each of us together. Everything else follows from there.”
― from the publisher’s description