• Xu Zhen: Ecosystem as Medium

    Exhibition Hall A3, Shenzhen Contemporary Art and Urban Planning


    Curated by Wang Yamin, the exhibition presents the rich artistic career of Xu Zhen, China’s most active contemporary artist. Born in 1977, Xu Zhen is one of the representative figures of his generation of Chinese contemporary artists, having gained international recognition for his innovative and provocative art practice. Xu Zhen has been active on the global art scene since the late 1990s, often exploring such themes as cultural identity, globalization, and consumerism. His practice spans a variety of media, including installation, sculpture, painting, photography and performance. In addition to being an artist, he is also a curator, founder of MadeIn Company and XU ZHEN®.

    The exhibition at MOCAUP will feature over 100 works of art from Xu Zhen’s career spanning more than twenty years, highlighting his typically assembled, iterating, and self-consistent cohort of works. They belong to the artist’s signature series including “Under Heaven” (2011), “MadeIn Curved Vase” (2012), “Alien” (2017), “Tools” (2018), and “Base” (2021), presented alongside a debut of his latest creations. In the artist’s paintings and sculptures, especially the most representative ones such as “Eternity” (2013), European Thousand Arms Classical Sculpture (2014), and Hello (2018), ancient cultural relics and symbols of civilization are transformed into works of art. The artist thus raises the issues of originality and innovation, conformity and confrontation, value revaluation and cultural transformation, etc. within globalization.

    The exhibition centers around Xu Zhen’s artistic practice and proposes its core as “ecosystem as medium”. Epochal changes, ideological iterations, and contemporary art practices together constitute an ecological reality, which Xu Zhen creatively transforms into the medium of his practice. By superimposing and connecting different art systems — those of art making, curation, operation of gallery, art museum, and art media, Xu Zhen pioneers a path of artists’ self-ecologicalization, refreshing and redefining their meaning of work and scope of creation. In the global contemporary art scene, he demonstrates the possibility of a universal contemporary art with Chinese characteristics and primal vitality.

  • The Forebears are Born

    Hong Museum, Wenzhou, China

    Hong Museum, Wenzhou is pleased to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition “The Forebears are Born” on August 26, 2023. Curated by Lin Zi, the exhibition will showcase XU ZHEN®’s latest paintings and sculptures. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Wenzhou and the opening exhibition of Hong Museum.

    Xu Zhen (b. 1977, works and lives in Shanghai) has a career spanning over 20 years that dates back to 1998. Starting from his early expression of individual mentality and evolving towards a confrontation with social realities, his practice has embraced innovations in addressing the current state of the Anthropocene, while being constantly oriented around the dynamic energy and essence of culture. XU ZHEN® explores how art can create possibilities and offer new experiences when facing the changes of the times.

    “The forebears are born by being trained. Training them is training a part of ourselves, the part that has been termed destiny.” The exhibition at Hong Museum continues XU ZHEN®’s interest in the transformation, iteration, and re-evaluation of cultural symbols in a post-globalization ecology. Through art, the exhibition seeks to galvanize people into reimagining the future and primitivity. “Today, our knowledge, civilization, and truth (i.e. the forebears) must feel fresh. Only knowledge that can be applied afresh to the new era can have meaning.”


  • Likes in the Flow, Ab-Ex on the Street

    G Museum, Nanjing, China

    The Nanjing G Museum is pleased to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition “Likes in the Flow, Ab-Ex on the Street” on July 14, 2023. The exhibition will showcase XU ZHEN®’s latest creations from the Passion series alongside a multimedia work Base (2023). Xu Zhen was born in 1977 and is considered an iconic figure in Chinese contemporary art. He has gained international recognition for his innovative and thought-provoking artistic creations. Xu Zhen has been active on the global art stage since the late 1990s. His artistic practice spans various mediums, including installation, sculpture, painting, photography, and performance, often exploring themes of cultural identity, globalization, consumerism, and more.

    Xu Zhen®’s Passion series, under the surface of abstract expressionism, represents both the derivative of intelligent social media and a reflection of everyday online life. Its foundation lies in a remarkable invention – the screenshot function of smart phones. All the images are transcribed from the constantly forwarded chat contents on our phones, as well as various cropped and edited screenshots.

    The Passion series of paintings explores the data-driven reality of the social media era and depicts its possible manifestations. It creatively continues and develops the genres of Pop art, conceptual art, and abstract expressionism in the context of the global shift towards cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The Passion paintings exhibit a distinctive style. Xu Zhen fully adheres to the logical and visual habits of social media interfaces in his painting practice. Using oil paint as the medium and constrained by three colors, he comprehensively expresses emotions from social media. Emotional communication, information exchange, thought rhythms, and the density of confessions all morph into the primary dynamic relationships on the canvas and directly influence the language and visual expression of the artwork. In doing so, Xu Zhen integrates painting and screens, as well as the ubiquitous elements of virtuality and reality in the contemporary world, expanding and strengthening his visual language. The artist takes this relationship to the extreme, prompting us to reflect on the logic and ethics of the social media era.

    In the exhibition “Likes in the Flow, Ab-Ex on the Street” at G Museum, XU ZHEN® will present his latest works from the Passion series, marking the first large-scale and systematic display of the series in a museum space. In these new works, the expressive power of emotions is noticeably enhanced. The atmosphere of the paintings is split by the contrasting emotions conveyed through different dialogues, while the textual content and relationships of social media conversations are transformed into abstract brushstrokes and shapes. The experience of both perceiving the expressiveness and attempting to translate it into emotions and content alternates throughout the viewing of this series. Abstraction, expression, and stylization become less definitive. The ultimate goal of this series seems to be to present a process of communication, a reality of digital desire. This creates a new relationship among the elements of the artwork, transcending their role as a form of language and becoming practical tools of communication.

    Unlike XU ZHEN®’s large-scale paintings, the protagonists of the artist’s “Signal” project – thousands of small paintings from the same series – appear neatly and densely on the wall, like lines of code ready to be called upon. In the past year, over 2,000 small paintings have been gifted to the artist’s friends and audiences in different countries, who then display the paintings on their respective social media platforms (WeChat, TikTok, Instagram, etc.) to reach a wider audience. In this exhibition at G Museum, Xu Zhen selected some images of the Passion paintings taken by the audience themselves from these social media channels and juxtaposed them with the actual “Passion” paintings in the gallery. In doing so, the artist embeds the gestures of smearing from his own paintings into the actions of posting, sharing, liking, and commenting of these social media images. Xu Zhen appropriates how the audience uses his paintings’ images and overlays them with new paintings. He implies the question of “how a painting appears today” and mobilizes the audience’s sensitivity to the digital and real-world interface.

    The design of Apple Store has a high level of recognition worldwide, providing people with an experience of innovation and high technology in a retail setting. In Base, Xu Zhen directly appropriates a complete set of display items from Apple Store, including tables and mobile devices, and designates them as sculptures for the exhibition. The Apple devices, such as iPhones, play real digital content generated during their actual usage. These authentic digital contents disrupt the comfortable, secure, and professional high-tech atmosphere created by commercial design. Here, the artist integrates various aspects of social production, incorporating industrial design, consumer experience, contemporary technology, and big data platforms into the artwork. The entire set of products and display arrangements become the “pedestal” of the sculpture, while the content on the phone screens represents the “shape” of the sculpture, making Base a conceptual artwork that continuously captures the reality of digital image production.

    Similar to the assembly of data-infused emotions and the circulation on social media, in the exhibition “Likes in the Flow, Ab-Ex on the Street” at G Museum, XU ZHEN® creates a portrayal of the digital era and places it within the urban landscape projected by the museum at an altitude of 200 meters. This arrangement organizes a new reality of technological culture in terms of aesthetics and sensibility. The collaboration between G Art Museum and XU ZHEN® in presenting this solo exhibition not only aligns with the museum’s ongoing support for contemporary Chinese art, bridging reality and envisioning the future, but also serves as a further interpretation of this purpose following its inaugural exhibition” Eternal and Ever-changing” of artist Yu Youhan in 2022. It aims to provide an alternative aesthetic path for urban life in Nanjing through contemporary art.

    The exhibition catalogue, “Likes in the Flow, Ab-Ex on the Street”, will be published featuring a review by the guest author Wang Yamin and will include another article written in 2021 by philosopher Lu Xinghua, titled “In The Excrement Lies Gold, Where Aimless Prodding Births Divinity”.

  • XU ZHEN®: Zoning Out

    ShanghART,Shanghai, China

    ShanghART Shanghai is honored to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition “Zoning Out” on Nov.8, 2022, featuring XU ZHEN®’s latest painting series, “Passion”. This series continues Xu’s interests in various propositions including new technologies, excess knowledge and information, human intellectual evolution, as well as his constant exploration of the diversity of creative media. This exhibition is a highly sensitive and brand-new expansion of the artist’s visual creation in the context of the post-global era.

    “Zoning Out” is a brand new scene created for the “SIGNAL” project. Viewers will enter a hall full of paintings. All the paintings are firing messages excitedly, cutting the viewer’s gaze. “In the age of the Internet, people are zoning out on the phone incessantly. Everything is considered impermanent. Therefore, there are countless crossroads of action that lead to everywhere, no idea what will come about next moment.” – “Zoning Out” is a celebration and a rehearsal of this reality. In the “Passion” paintings, each work is such a crossroads. The swiping fingers on the screen are of the same nature as the flurry of brushes on the canvas – they are both confident, greedy, and blind. The artist uses the brushes like a severe phone user to find new possibilities and directions in it.

    The exhibition works as a physical presentation of the contemporary art project “SIGNAL” initiated by Xu Zhen. The artist gives as a gift one of his “Passion” paintings to the global audience, and each recipient is invited to display the painting they receive on their social media accounts. A long-term, unceasing “art exhibition” will thus take place on Internet media platforms. The project has landed in Indonesia, Singapore, and China since 2022. It aims to send the signal of art to people around the world and share with them the future of art.


  • Embracing Chaos 1.0

    Permanent Display
    MadeIn Art Museum, Shanghai, China

    Now we are going to use this land reclaimed in the 1970s. It took over 30,000 people twelve months to work on over 1.4 million square meters of land, reclaim a 17-kilometer-long embankment, and fill over 2,600 hectares of fertile soil. This was the first local “ecological action” that took place in 1971. Over a short span of the past fifty years, the land has witnessed socialist land reclamation, collective agricultural life, and the establishment of the “new-era national ecological demonstration area”, among many other incidents.

    Today, Xu Zhen airdrops himself here along with a dozen of his sculptures. They tear open the roof, rip through the grass, and pounce right into place. Landing here as if it were the moon, Xu Zhen wants to pick up the baton of recla- mation and invent landscape of his own.

    MadeIn Art Museum will present “XU ZHEN®: Embracing Chaos 1.0” as its permanent display. In the indoor and outdoor spaces of the Museum, Xu Zhen launched this live art scene in 2021 where objects such as artifacts, ecology, collective memory, and myths are superimposed, agitated, constantly added in and nurtured.

    During his career spanning over two decades, Xu Zhen has developed a new urbanist Pop action informed by Pop art practice and stirred up a new Pop formula in the process of China’s urbanization. From Xu Zhen Supermarket, Move- ment Field, Physique of Consciousness Museum, Base, to “Embracing Chaos 1.0” at the Museum in Chongming Island, the works of XU ZHEN® have been a ridicule and mockery of the dislocated aesthetics and ethics in the globalized cityscape. With his conceptual strength, XU ZHEN® constructs a new creative practice of contemporary art with an aesthetic interest in and ethical examination of the contemporary technology-landscape-commodity reality.

  • The Majesty of the Moment

    OCA Boxes Art Museum, Foshan, China

    “The Majesty of the Moment”, this is an opinion on the American modern photographer Alfred Stieglitz, his city and his subject New York in the book Aisthesis: Scènes du Régime Esthétique de L’art written by Rancière. Rancière’s argument originated in a commentary on Stiglitz in 1921. So far, exactly one hundred years.


    Rancière believes that Stiglitz’s artistic techniques condense the conquest, experience, and rhythm of a civilization. It also allows skyscrapers to rise above the city, and allows the tail smoke of trains and ships to disperse into the sky.

    Therefore, the American spirit advocated by Stiglitz and Schopenhauer’s compassion (for the critics) are related… The subject matter is a metaphor of a world, a special moment that condenses the rapidness and slowness of this world…


    Completely accidentally, this sentence and XU ZHEN®‘s new exhibition coincided a century later. Although the artistic medium language and the context used by XU ZHEN® are different from those of Stiglitz, although these are two sets of aesthetic systems, in XU ZHEN®‘s new works, we also feel the pure form and the endless historicality which is contained in every moment of time, every folds of sculpture parts and brushstrokes of the painting. The “Passion” series of paintings on the wall allude to weight, and the “Evolution” series of sculptures on the ground are metaphors of time. Such a naming and arrangement seems to have intentionally reversed the order, but at the same time they are organically integrated. At this time, the huge sculptures on the ground seem to express weight, while the “abstract” paintings on the wall seem to represent time. Lightness and heaviness, activity and stillness, superficiality and stateliness, instantaneity and eternality… switch and cycle back and forth here. It is undoubtedly a deep inspection and measurement of both our mental conditions and the symptoms of the contemporary era when staying here.

  • Three Taels of Cuteness, One Catty of Greatness

    MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, China



    MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition “Three Taels of Cuteness, One Catty of Greatness” on November 10th, 2021. This is the third solo exhibition of XU ZHEN® at MadeIn Gallery after “Hello” in 2019, which will present a large-scale contemporary artwork Base, and a new painting series “Pas- sion”. The exhibition continues XU ZHEN®’s focus on new technologies, the excess of knowledge and informa- tion, the evolution of human intellect, as well as his ceaseless exploration of the diversity of creative media, with a high degree of sensitivity and new expansion of visual creation in the context of the post-globalization era.

    Base is the latest work created for this exhibition. The audience will enter a scene similar to a mobile phone store, where each mobile phone is playing a variety of contents generated in the course of use. While we use mobile phones to capture and process information every day, algorithms and big data continue to generate marketing content and manipulate our behavioral expectations. Increasingly dense and fast information improves our intelligence, but at the same time it does not leave time for individuals to contemplate. On the screen of mobile phone, on the fingers that are hitting keyboard, information economy and technological capitalism occupy more and more the time of life. Perception, sensibility and desire are installed on devices as apps on our mobile phones, which we are constantly tapping on and upgrading.

    The entire work takes the life in each device as a fact, an event and new information, and continues to use and announce it. Today, our love, curiosity and beliefs, our bodies, actions and emotions have all become data. How we could be better processed as data, will be the reality of daily life.

    “Passion”, a series of paintings with abstract expressionist style on the surface, is not only a derivative of smart social media, but also a representation of daily life on the Internet. They are based on a great invention – screen capture on mobile phone. All pictures are translated from screenshots of WeChat conversation – that is, all kinds of cropped and smeared conversation screenshots that we constantly forward across different WeChat groups every day. Artists retain the “cropping” structure when painting, some can see the “avatar”, while others don’t. The free writing with abstract expressionistic style, not only highlights the traces of “smearing” when forwarding, but also pours all kinds of emotions which are often seen in chatroom into the picture vividly, such as roasting, prattling, arguing, raging, abreaction and the sense of powerlessness. At this time, painting is not so much a fierce reaction to a mental state, but as a release and solution to self-depres- sion, anxiety and excitement. The artist confronts and dispels this unavoidable absurd situation in a more direct way. The exhibition site endows these extra-large scale “mobile phone screenshots” with a unique sense of sacredness – in recent years, screenshots have indeed played an important evidential role in some noted incidents, they are like an invisible spiritual cage, locking everyone’s mind in it with all kinds of informa- tion that is hard to distinguish between genuine and false. This series retains the order of painting, but at the same time, it also completely destroys – or completely ignores – the order of painting.

    The exhibition is jointly presented by MadeIn Gallery and ShanghART.



    Hermès Maison, Shanghai, China

    On 13th May 2021, Hermès unveils its Summer windows display as well as an art exhibition at Hermès Maison in Shanghai. Both entitled Newcomers, the new windows and the exhibition echo Hermès’ annual theme, “An Odyssey”, presenting an aesthetic outlook that transcends the shackles of time.

    The inspiration for the summer windows comes from the evolution of visual art throughout human history. Fig- ures of humans and gods from Greek mythology are suspended above urban skyscrapers and submerged among corals on the seafloor, reflecting the multiple narratives throughout the “Odyssey” that demonstrate the progression of human civilization.

    In each window, objects from the Hermès collections are displayed in an inventive and surprising way unex- pectedly depicting an unknown future, creating a poetic connection between mythology and reality. In the women’s window, human characters bravely explore the depths of the ocean with the help of the Greek gods. Floating silk scarves are transformed into “divine powers” that escort them as they advance towards the hand- bags that symbolise treasures on the seafloor. In the men’s window, unknown objects represented by bags, accessories, and perfumes lure adventurers to explore the mysteries of the universe. The fantastical visual effects prompt viewers’ minds to wander between the connections of the past, present and future.

    On the fourth floor of the Maison Shanghai, as a continuation of the windows display, the artist presents an exhibition featuring two collections, Newcomers and Under Heaven; a humorous harmonisation with modern life which establishes a new starting point for traditional culture in contemporary contexts.

    The Newcomers collection has been created especially by the artist for this exhibition. Thanks to the comic book style distortion and partial replacement of mythological figures, the sense of humour created by XU ZHEN® is prominent. By contrast, Under Heaven uses vibrant, colourful swirls reminiscent of cream decorations to create a mystic landscape that reflects a pleasant and sensual reality.

    The work by Chinese contemporary artist XU ZHEN® covers installations, photography, video and performance. He continues to explore the integration of human history and culture in this window installation, in-keeping with Hermès’ 2021 annual theme “An Odyssey”.

  • Awaken the Stories that Sleep in the Streets –A Xu Zhen Video Art Retrospective

    Retrospective, Online

    Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.


    National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

    International contemporary artist XU ZHEN® – famous for his large-scale works exploring the collision of cultures – will present his first major solo Australian exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in March.


    Curated by the National Gallery of Australia in partnership with the White Rabbit Collection, Sydney, XU ZHEN®: ETERNITY VS EVOLUTION showcases the artist’s work from early videos to more recent monumental sculptures. The exhibition will also celebrate the international debut of “Hello” 2018-19 – a Corinthian column-like snake that watches and follows visitors as they move through the gallery.


    Opening on 14 March, the exhibition will be made up of 14 works, as well as a series of performances of In Just a Blink of an Eye 2005/2020 in August. A leader among China’s younger generation of artists, XU ZHEN®’s eclectic works examines the role of art and culture in the distribution of global power.


    “A leading artist of his generation, XU ZHEN® grapples with the implications of globalisation, not just in China, but around the world. He deftly combines cultural forms with equal parts provocation and humour, exposing the fault lines between cultures and suggesting new ways of living together,” National Gallery of Australia Director Nick Mitzevich said.


    Co-ordinating curator Peter Johnson, from the National Gallery of Australia, said the artist was interested in how globalisation intersected with ideas around the body, alienation, trade, control and the commodification of culture, which saw him establish the MadeIn Company, a factory-like cultural production corporation, in 2009.


    “In 2013, MadeIn Company launched the brand XU ZHEN®, skewering the romantic notion of artistic genius and exploring new possibilities for expression through the combination of art and business,” Mr Johnson said.


    XU ZHEN® said people in China were anxious about the relationship between art and business but he felt it created new possibilities. “Most things are a business nowadays so the fact of creating a company, in a way, solves the conflict between art and business. The company itself brings together these aspects in a magical way,” he said.


    In his latest work, “Hello”, being exhibited outside of China for the first time, XU ZHEN ® turns the spotlight on twisted perceptions that emerge with the meeting of different cultures.


    “I’ve used a traditional thing and renewed it in some way,” he said. “It’s interesting because, in the west, such columns would be used in official buildings such as courthouses and banks, whereas they most often appear in front of public baths in China, or places where you can sing karaoke.”


    The scale of his homeland, XU ZHEN® says, is one of the inspirations for his colossal works, such as the European Thousand-Armed Classical Sculpture 2014, which has the familiarity of classical European sculptures overlaid with eastern religious imagery of a multi-armed deity. “I’m drawn to such things because of what they say about power and what is valued in different societies,” he said.


  • XU ZHEN®: “Hello”

    MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, China

    On November 6, 2019, MadeIn Gallery will launch XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition “Hello”, marking the second show of the artist’s brand in the gallery after “XU ZHEN Store” was presented in 2016. The exhibition will showcase a monumental kinetic sculpture and a set of newly created two-dimensional works. “Hello” pursues XU ZHEN®’s continuous focus on civilization iteration, fusion, collision as well as the constant exploration of the diversity of creative media, and adheres to the new development and acuteness of visual creation within the context of the post-global era.


    “Hello” is a large-scale kinetic sculpture especially created for this exhibition, its form is elaborated from ancient Greek architecture pillars. As viewers stepped into the gallery they will see this large Greek pillar occupying the space such as a magnified and mutated snake, observing its surrounding as if nodding to the visitors. The Greek column symbolizes the origin and cornerstone of Western civilization. The work fuses together the classical Greek column shape and the snake’s aggressive biological attitude to stimulate viewers’ perception and experience on classic civilization. The moment the public’s eyes come across the vivacious Corinthian capital also represents a confrontation with the depth of history and civilization, gazing at each other, evoking Friedrich Nietzsche’s saying “If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you”. Nowadays, with the increasingly frequent blending and impacts among global civilizations, the work constitutes a reality and metaphor on the encounter between civilizations of different time and space.


    “Hello” involves the combination of art and technology at the border between illusion and reality. It proposes a new vision imbued with Western classical aesthetics and cutting-edge robotics, expanding the concept of traditional sculpture.


    Also displayed in the exhibition is a group of XU ZHEN®’s latest two-dimensional works “Communication”, consisting of multiple cartoon characters merged into a relief surface. These cartoon characters issued from classic mainstream animations include Mickey Mouse, Angry Birds, Mario Bros., Pikachu, Gingerbread Man, Smurf, Brown Bear, etc. They shape the younger generation’s visual aesthetics. The computer program simulates the fall of each form to the ground, amalgamating them together to compose a superposition of irregular color blocks with a sense of volume, and with a variety of rich, vivid tones and shapes. Using these familiar figurative cartoon images as abstract elements, the works subtlety plays and explores the boundaries between figuration and abstraction, two-dimensional and three-dimensional, popular culture and conceptual art. The highly saturated color and visual stimuli of the cartoons show through the precise and logical calculation of the computer program the visual trend for wild and rational symbiosis, which also is a characteristic of the digital era.



    MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Los Angeles, USA

    The Museum of Contemporary Art has acquired a performance piece titled In Just a Blink of an Eye by Chinese artist Xu Zhen. As the museum’s second performance piece in the collection, In Just a Blink of an Eye features a group of performers floating mysteriously in mid-air, defying the constraints of physics as if frozen in time and space.


    The work engages notions of the body as material, and in turn the materiality of the body, testing the limits of physical and cognitive possibilities as the viewer tries to comprehend what we see. A prolific and experimental artist, Zhen’s conceptually-driven practice encompasses a vast range of media and often employs humor, irony, and sophisticated trickery. As the audience waits for movement, for the performer to stand up, or for them to continue to follow the rules of gravity, they instead experience time and stillness as moments extend and are stretched out on through these living sculptures. Xu Zhen explores fragility and balance, literally and metaphorically, spatially and temporally.


    Installation view of Xu Zhen: In Just a Blink of an Eye, July 27–September 1, 2019 at MOCA Grand Avenue.

    Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art.

    Photo by Myles Pettengill.

  • The Glorious

    Galerie Perrotin, HongKong, China

    Perrotin Hong Kong is pleased to present the solo exhibition The Glorious by XU ZHEN® from March 25, 2019. It is the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery, following Civilization Iteration at Perrotin Paris and a subsequent installment at Perrotin Seoul. This show features three of the artist’s signature work series: Under Heaven, Eternity, and Evolution, showcasing a variety of installations, paintings, and sculptures.


  • Alien, Xu Zhen® solo exhibition

    ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai, China


    “Art is alien.” (XU ZHEN®)


    ShanghART Gallery is pleased to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition: “Alien” in May 2018. This exhibition will present the large-scale installations XU ZHEN® made especially for the ShanghART Gallery space, along with his recent paintings and sculptures. This exhibition extends XU ZHEN®’s persistent interest in subjects such as transforming, iterating and evolving the civilisation within the context of post-globalisation. As “Alien” is constructing an impression of the thrilling and the unknown, this exhibition will inspire the viewers’ imagination about future and primitivity.


    As the founder of XU ZHEN®, Xu Zhen has made a career in art for twenty years since 1998. Initially expressing the intimacy and emotion of individuals, then shifting to social issues, Xu Zhen is recently focusing on the difference and creativity among human beings. While his artistic strategies have undergone several changes, it is always moving towards the dynamics of culture. XU ZHEN®’s art has reached issues such as how art deals with the passage of time, and how to create new possibilities while discovering new experience. The three main themes in globalisation, “trade and capital”, “conflict and war”, “evolution and variation” are gradually becoming sharp focused in Xu Zhen’s works. Accordingly, the collision among three topics results in the figures of “extreme alienation” and “super variant” in his works. For Xu Zhen, “Alien” is not only a representation of the real world, but also an allegory of the future community.


    This exhibition will truly reflect the core of Xu Zhen’s art through exhibiting how he deals with cultural subjects and their contexts, as well as the new associations and plans he came up with under these circumstances. As the most representative art brand of the period, XU ZHEN® is running the one and only MadeIn Company. Established after the economic crisis in 2008, MadeIn Company is representing a kind of possibility by internalising current circumstances into ideas, and speeding up the art making process in the form of a company, in response to the “symptom of globalisaiton”.


    The two pieces of sculptures, Alien 1 and Alien 2, can be traced back to the “Eternity” series of 2013, which combines classical figures of Eastern and Western cultures in a conflicting and integrating way. The aesthetic symbols of eternity and spirituality from the East and West has developed through rich metaphors of colonial history, international configurations, and the future of globalisation in the process of collision. Alien 2 in the same vein of Eternity-(Buddha in Nirvana) juxtaposes two sculpture figures: an “hermaphrodite” from Greek mythology and a servant figure from the Han Dynasty. Moreover, Alien 1 is decoding and recombining the cultural elements to its extreme by recolouring those sculptures, thus the ‘aliens’ and the terrifying power therein are released intensely. By these means XU ZHEN® created a spiritually interactive installation, directing the viewers to a sensitive historic moment; the pressure brought on by those ideological symbols will situate the viewers in conditions that force them to make a choice and a statement. The other section of the exhibition includes several paintings used by XU ZHEN® as installing elements. The “Evolution” series which started in 2007 combines the cultural elements from Dunhuang Mogao Cave paintings and African masks. By painting the ancient civilisation and primitivity still remaining in modern society on the canvas at the same time, this series of paintings create the beauty of harmonious blending across time. The “Fortune” series started from the same period of the “Evolution” series; these painting series, which reconstructs the Neolithic ceremonial jades, opens a path for XU ZHEN® towards abstract expressionism.


    As “Civilisation Iteration” (solo exhibition in 2017) declares, XU ZHEN® is fulfilling his visions in a progress of repeated feedback. The corporate-typed art production will finally result in a leak in the reality – the unknown condition of getting away from logic and language. The aliens hidden in the exhibition will present infinite possibilities.

  • XU ZHEN®

    Galerie Perrotin, Seoul, Korea

    Perrotin Seoul is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Chinese artist Xu Zhen, featuring major works spanning the development of his flagship art brand, XU ZHEN®, since 2013.


    Using both conceptual and pop strategies, Xu Zhen’s practice mounts incongruous clashes between iconographies pertaining to distant cultures, civilizations and ages to question the loss of context induced by globalization. Ironically mirroring post-Mao China’s journey into consumerism, Xu transforms himself into a brand with the creation of his art corporation “MadeIn Company” in 2009 as a behavioral – and almost performative – study of the symmetries between ideas, art and business.


    On display is his signature Under Heaven series, which was featured in the 2014 Armory Show in New York to serve the commercial campaign for the fair. Florae of vibrant colors are skillfully figured using cream piping bags filled with oil colors, evoking the luscious icing on a birthday cake. Fragrant and fragile, joyful and decadent, this subconscious blur of decipherable imagery and extraneous elements alludes to economic growth as a sumptuous, moveable feast – a metaphor for the globalized hedonism in China. Conversely, Xu also sees his pop-like “cake painting” as a collective representation of childhood revelries and excess, a visual referent capable of conjuring each individual’s inner experience. Considered thus, Under Heaven reveals the duality of a sign system at the threshold between principled art and superficial beauty; one which, as Barthes would say, “draws attention to its own arbitrariness – which does not try to palm itself off as “natural” but which, in the very moment of conveying a meaning, communicates something of its own relative, artificial status as well.”[1] This harks back to Xu’s work from the 90’s, a time of ambiguities and conceit amidst political recovery and economic boom. Here, Xu reiterates his interrogation of art – its authority, competence and limitations – vis-à-vis his consciousness of the world in the spirit of Deng Xiaoping’s apocryphal exhortation, “To become rich is glorious”.


    Eternity is a series of sculptural installations that amalgamate archetypes of art history and great civilizations. The collision between cultural symbols allows Xu to subtly touch upon the various power struggles in human history, a leitmotif that continues with his more recent canvas series titled Evolution. Embodying the violent nature of cultural hybridization, the pairings of traditional African and Chinese motifs further problematize the loss of meaning and context induced by the precipitation of globalization in the digital era. Here we return to the idea of an arbitrary “sign” – ever elusive to the museum or gallery visitor – which hints at the great divide we are so accustomed to in the age of post-truth and post-Internet where nothing is quite as it seems.


    A similar concern with appearance and truth underlies the Metal Language series, wherein phrases from political cartoons are presented in an intensive manner using metal chains applied to a mirroring surface. The graffiti-like composition seemingly celebrates the radical political language it concerns, at the same time as it is betrayed by the extravagance of the metallic gloss. This contradiction plunges the work into a suspended state, halfway between meaningfulness and meaninglessness.

    [1] Terry Eagleton. Literary Theory: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008). p. 117

  • Movement Field: Xu Zhen® Solo Exhibition

    James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA

    James Cohan will present Movement Field, an exhibition of work by XU ZHEN®️ at the gallery’s Lower East Side location from Saturday, March 3 through Sunday, April 22, 2018. The exhibition will present new sculptures and wall-works alongside the immersive installation Movement Field. This is the fourth solo exhibition of work by XU ZHEN®️ at James Cohan. The gallery will host an opening reception on Saturday, March 3 from 6-8 PM.


    Movement Field is a series of installations initiated in 2013 by XU ZHEN® that act as an ongoing exploration of protest and popular expression. XU ZHEN®️ creates the installations using white pebbles and green grass to create a network of criss-crossing but delineated paths, which diagram the route of several protests throughout the globe. In this exhibition, pathways and sod-covered ramps transform the entire gallery space. The intersecting trails are visually appealing but do not indicate a single way of moving through the space. There is no logical end point. The aesthetic confusion of the trails reflects the frenetic energy – and frequent frustration – of large or small protests. Although the paths are inspired by actual marches, the artist insists that the demonstrations remain unidentified so that no iteration of the project is privileged by its historical antecedent.


    XU ZHEN® uses installations of Movement Field as a platform to present other related artworks. I Believe the Sun is the Center of the Universe is made from mirror-finished stainless steel and metal chains. The metal chains spell out various phrases pulled from political cartoons such as, “Stop Privacy Invasion!” or “I’m not allowed to answer that.” The saturated composition of I Believe the Sun is the Center of the Universe reflects the rapid sharing and consumption of the digital age, yet the work demonstrates how small, seemingly incongruous, pieces of information blend into a larger, more holistic pictures. The exhibition also features works from the Eternity series by XU ZHEN®, which are sculptural amalgamations of Eastern and Western art. These works bridge cultures and time to create striking new forms. Eternity – Painted Terracotta Statue of Heavenly Guardian, Sleeping Muse combines an ancient Chinese statue with Constantin Brancusi’s Sleeping Muse. Three variations of this sculptures appear in different sizes throughout the gallery. The conscious reproducibility in work by XU ZHEN® is both a cynical critique of art’s commodification and an optimistic step towards its democratization.


  • Fortune: XU ZHEN®

    Xu Zhen Store, Shanghai, China

    “Fortune” generally refers to the notion of opportunity, driven by purposeless and unpredictable force. This kind of chance was considered by French biochemist Jacques Monod as the only cause of natural processes. In the East, “Fortune” also refers to the essence of materials and the natural order of life movements.

    A new series of paintings and a sculpture created by Xu Zhen brand in 2017 deciphering the human cultural codes as well as humorous re-creation will be presented. The jade bracelets appearing in Fortune paintings date back to the oriental stone tools from 10,000 BC, and allude to halos as often seen in Icons of Christian Saints. Similar symbols can also be found in ancient Egyptian paintings depicting the god of sun–Horus or in Longmen Grottoes statues of Wei Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties.

    Eternity – Nixian Sphinx, Sleeping Muse is the latest creation from Xu Zhen’s well known series “Eternity”. The combination of the ancient mythical creature Sphinx with the simple abstract classic oval head by Modernist sculptor Brancusi, superposes time and space forming a surreal cultural metaphor and a new visual image.

    In a period of cultural instability with technological innovation and cognitive changes, Xu Zhen brand continuously explores and investigates clues in contingency through the use of humorous visual expression, in order to explore the origin of cultural consciousness, and re-connect different human civilizations. From the jades of the Neolithic period, ancient Greek statues and mythology to modernist sculptures of the twentieth century, the genes of human civilizations have been constantly extracted, reconstructed and regenerated in the creation of Xu Zhen brand, and will release new energies in the present context.


  • Xu Zhen®: Civilization Iteration

    Perrotin, Paris, France

    Perrotin, Paris, is proud to present Civilization Iteration, the first solo exhibition of Chinese artist Xu Zhen with the gallery, which will showcase Xu’s important series of works since 2013 when he started a brand in his own name. “Iteration” refers to the way of achieving a desired result through repeated feedback. The exhibited series will show how an artist, amidst increasing globalization and networking of art, can approach the future of art with his own formula.


    As early as 2001, Xu participated in the 49th Venice Biennale, then the youngest Chinese artist to exhibit works at this international art event. Having made a name at 20 as an artist, he has since created a large number of works based on his own consciousness. The passage from one century to the next brought with it not only socio-economic but also cultural changes, the latter deeply influencing Xu as an artist. The great divide of his career came in 2009 when he established the art creation enterprise MadeIn Company in Shanghai. Since then his works have been produced in a corporate fashion and his “artist” identity has been plunged into the center of controversy.  Meanwhile, Xu’s creative focus has begun to shift to the relationship between art and business.


    Monika Szewczyk, a curator of this year’s Kassel Documenta, once said, “To be sure, Xu Zhen is not the first artist to transform himself into a company, and countless others incorporate more quietly to maximize their income and maneuverability. But MadeIn may be special in at least one respect: The company’s production could be understood increasingly to contemplate the notion of heaven – not offering up a clear picture the way religious authorities might, yet keeping this abstraction in focus as a question.”[1] The title of the Under Heaven series echoes heaven as a metaphor. The paintings appeared in the 2014 Armory Show in New York to serve the commercial campaign for the fair itself. Layers and layers of oil paint form an ornate “landscape”, and with the skillful depiction and figuration of a cream piping bag (not a paint brush!), they make up an enticing visual banquet. The series manages to transcend the opposition between art and business, which exemplifies Xu’s creative strategy: rather than addressing the big spectacle issue head on, one might as well turn it into a positive account by creating a new approach of one’s own.


    This way of thinking explains why Xu is so fluent in using visual symbols from popular culture.  In the Metal Language series, phrases from political cartoons are presented in an intensive manner on a mirror-finished metal surface. The graffiti-like composition seemingly agrees with the radical stance of the political language but is in fact betrayed by the extravagance of the metallic gloss. This inner contradiction throws the works (and even their producer) into a suspended state of meaningfulness.


    Because of their metallic and creamy landscapes, Xu’s works have been classified as pop art, even though the label apparently can apply only to some of his works. In terms of creative logic and cultural appropriation, Xu has no doubt gone beyond pop art. For instance, his series Eternity and Evolution all reference a far more expansive, long-lasting civilized world than the consumer society. Ancient art pieces, Dunhuang frescoes from the Silk Road’s heyday, representative modernist sculptures of the West…when we see these cultural symbols repeatedly change shape or re-combined in new ways, we cannot help but feel an implosion of meaning set off by the accumulated spiritual force of culture.


    This force comes not only from the cultural symbols being used; it is in a way more the cultural changes induced by the globalizing Internet. In a modern context, we tend to identify Greek sculptures solely by their greyish white plaster, forgetting that they were originally divine statues with colors. The truth behind cultural relics is ever elusive to the museum visitor.  People even turn to the Net, using search engines to make up their own pictures of the origins of civilization. Between the colorful Greek statues and the modern white plaster versions, and the Acropolis in Athens and sculpture photos on electronic screens, is the loss of a common context. And it is because we are so accustomed to this cultural reality that the two contrasting series Eternity and Evolution appear all the more harmonious and splendid to us.


    From the “individual artist period” when he concerned himself with the consciousness of identity, to “Xu Zhen brand”, Xu has moved on to repeatedly examine the current culture. The transition is nothing less than a reflection of the tremendous changes in human history over the past decades. Admittedly, the extension of consciousness unleashed by the Internet has eliminated temporal and spatial disparity. Yet, in the process, cultural learning in the traditional sense has been destroyed by information overload, giving way to recurrent cultural stagnation and dysfunctional standards. The information highway makes one feel unreal, so much so that the boundaries between meaning, values and reality gradually blur. Living in this “post-truth” age, one begins to see why Xu should uphold “iteration” as an effective way of responding to a postmodern society. For in the course of time, after endless destruction and reconstruction, the boundless reformulations are sure to open up a new paradigm for civilization in the present.

    [1] Monika Szewczyk, “MadeIn Heaven”, Parkett, Vol. 96, 2015, 20.

  • Xu Zhen Store

    MadeIn Gallery, Shanghai, China

    Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.


  • Xu Zhen® Solo Exhibition

    James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA

    James Cohan is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the multi-disciplinary Chinese artist Xu Zhen. This will be the third exhibition of work by Xu Zhen at James Cohan and the largest presentation of his art in New York since 2009. The show will be on view from September 8 to October 8, 2016 with an opening reception from 6-8 PM on Thursday, September 8.


    In 2009 Xu Zhen subsumed his individual artistic identity and transformed into MadeIn – an “art creation company.” Subsequently in 2013, MadeIn launched a brand – Xu Zhen, redundantly making Xu a product of his own corporation.  Xu works within many different media and thematic structures, making him an enigmatic yet groundbreaking figure in Chinese contemporary art – a role that he gleefully accepts. Of his work, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, director of the Serpentine Galleries, London, writes, “Xu’s sociopolitical appraisals distance him from the herd of contemporary Chinese artists. And the breadth of his practice, in all its seeming spontaneity and surprising inflections and turns, only complicates the attempt to pin him down to any single position within his country’s art scene—or, indeed, within cultural production at large.”  The works in this exhibition examine the human experience of pain, pleasure and desire as well as the aesthetic manipulation of consumers in late capitalist societies.

    The exhibition will present a large-scale sculpture from the Eternity series, Xu’s 1998 film Rainbow,  selections from his Under Heaven paintings and a new wall installation, Corporate – (Erected), produced this year. Xu’s oeuvre questions the validity of an East-West dichotomy with great skepticism.  Xu’s Eternity sculptures are a mash-up of Hellenistic and Buddhist statuary, creating three-dimensional, transcultural exquisite corpses. The result is a deftly composed work that carries the weight of history, yet acts as a sly statement about global similarities and differences. Eternity allows the sacred and the profane to exist in the same space, denying neither an ultimate importance.


    In Rainbow, which premiered at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001, a bare back fills the screen and is repeatedly slapped until the skin turns an alarming shade of red. Although the slapping is audible, the hands themselves were removed through editing. The result is a visceral, aestheticized portrait of pain and endurance.


    In contrast to Rainbow, the paintings from Xu’s ongoing Under Heaven series are a voluptuary dream. He applies a thick layer of oil paint to a canvas and then forms delicate petals and flowers using a cake decorator. The resulting impasto creates a striking relief, tempting the viewer to touch or even taste. The expansive title, Under Heaven, is a literal translation of a Chinese word meaning “the whole world.” The sumptuous surfaces as well as the allusive title make the works an intense sensual experience.


    Corporate – (Erected) is a large-scale wall sculpture incorporating ready-made S&M paraphernalia. From afar, the work appears to be an exercise in gothic formalism; however, upon closer inspection it becomes clear that it is an assemblage of leather accessories and erotic toys. Xu intends the viewer to project his or her own cultural associations onto the sculpture and experience its meaning and associations in a very subjective way. Rarefying these salacious objects in a fine art evokes the idea of sexual pleasure – perhaps to an uncomfortable extent.


    The works in this exhibition, united in their lush, eye-catching aesthetics, are representative of three primal human sensations –pain, pleasure and desire –and reveal how these emotions are consistently manipulated by the images that surround us.

  • From Dada to Pop: Xu Zhen and MadeIn Company

    CAEA, Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China

  • Corporate

    Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria

    Xu Zhen has been seen for some years as one of the most critical and at the same time most virtuosic of the leading figures of a younger generation of Chinese artists. He has already twice participated in group exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Graz: China Welcomes You (2007) and Life? Biomorphic Forms in Sculpture (2008). His solo show – as his first larger exhibition project adapted for the locality in Europe – is the result of an ongoing engagement with artistic output. His artistic strategies are thus a mirror of a rapidly evolving Chinese art scene. They employ an ‘art of conforming’, veering between a partial use of conceptual art up to Re-enactment, with an ironic critique of the system and a craftsman’s precision. The often theatrical, highly provocative sculptures, pictures, performances and films confront contemporary China with social-political and cultural taboos, and more besides. In Graz, too, the works on show, which can be produced serially in his ‘MadeIn Company’, comment on a short-lived, globe-spanning consumerist society. They ask where our behaviour will lead in future and create possible systems offering cultural and spiritual reconciliation.


    The exhibited works cross boundaries, moving through levels that are not only political and cultural, but institutional, too. Sculptures that are amalgamations and copies are presented as new creations of a global culture, revealing the market and its regulations as the determining receptacle of artistic endeavour. To this Xu Zhen reacts brilliantly with his ‘MadeIn Company’. The term ‘MadeIn’ refers to the commonly found label ‘Made in China’ and in Chinese (没顶公司 ) includes the word ‘company’.


    The significant work ‘Arrogance‘ Set (2015) shows, among other things, a presumably bronze Poseidon, who has been settled on by pigeons reminiscent of Peking ducks. The sculpture Eternity – The Soldier of Marathon Announcing Victory, A Wounded Galatian (2014) unites beyond time and place an ancient Greek sculpture of the dying Athenian with the injured Galatian, beyond political and stylistic borders to a marble, gleaming sculpture, thus becoming an eternal witness – not only figuratively pointing towards the sky – of a history of mankind marked by conquest.


    The exhibition is presented as a quasi-military positioning of serial objects in Space01 at the Kunsthaus Graz, yet it also contains very funny, cheeky and at the same more muted tones: one sculpture that is part of the Eternity series and thus linking cultures marries in a headstand the eternal beauties of a bodhisattva of the Chinese Sui dynasty with the Venus de Vienne from the Louvre in Paris.


    The four video works Shouting (1998), Rainbow (1998), Physique of Consciousness (2011) and Twenty (2015), which, like the sculptures, are given the status of objects and when reproduced multiply preserve their position in the room, are references to Xu Zhen’s provocative and at the same time performative approach, taking as their theme our interaction with the series, but also those with the forgery or fake in both the west and the east. The ShanghART Supermarket (2007/2015) can also be interpreted in the same way – which as an introduction to the exhibition not only abducts the public into a stereotypical China of trade, but also in the context of art makes use of such models as Warhol’s serial Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) or Damien Hirst’s Installation Pharmacy (1992), thereby mercilessly exaggerating the populist call for consumable, contemporary art by turning the platform of the institution into the marketplace for the goods on offer.


    Corporate is an exhibition about prejudice and norms, about definitions of identity in connection with our cultural capital, about cultural heritage and its reworking under conditions of a conforming, global and above all consumer-based society. There is more on show than just an ironic engagement with images of west and east.


    As a cunning form of self-marketing and annexation all in one, Corporate is to some extent a triumphant invasion of Europe by what is ‘Chinese’. Xu Zhen’s production firm ‘MadeIn Company’, which produces in all genres with the greatest precision and perfection, thus operates in the style of the ‘new generation’ of Asian artist producers. While Xu Zhen beguiles the public with the persuasive power of stereotypes, he toys with artistic colonialism, tongue-in-cheek.


    A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with texts by Philip Tinari, Chris Moore, Petra Pölzl, an interview between Xu Zhen and Katrin Bucher Trantow and an introduction by Peter Pakesch.

  • Movement Field

    Walburger Wouters Gallery, Brussels Belgium

    Waldburger Wouters is pleased to announce Movement Field, a solo show with Xu Zhen (produced by MadeIn Company). The show opens on the weekend of September 11 – 13 and will be on view until November 7, 2015.

    Movement Field, initiated in 2013 by Xu Zhen, is a long-term art creation and research project. It consists of a garden elaborated from a maze of paths of different sizes. Each path within the garden is the replica – enlarged or reduced – of a protest route collected from the internet. The ideological composition of these socio-political demonstrations that occurred in various places around the world throughout history imposes to the artwork the character of a memorial. A seemingly peaceful garden invites visitors to follow the paths of predecessors and to symbolically reenact these marches.

    Movement Field at Waldburger Wouters is set up as a large scale installation with an indoor miniature-garden covering the gallery floor and an interwoven presentation of 10 Movement  paintings. The Movement Field garden as well as the Movement paintings have been specifically created for the exhibition at Waldburger Wouters.

  • In the Light of 25 Years

    Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands

    For One of Us Is On the Wrong Side of History!, Xu Zhen (1977, China) focuses on the visual identity of Witte de With’s past exhibitions as well as its archive of posters. As such, this work brings to light not the artworks shown at Witte de With during the past twenty-five years, but rather the wording and design, which mediated them. The archive is read and revealed as a sprawling visual poem made up of fragments and traces of voices past. In the vein of his Metal Language series, Xu Zhen extracts fonts and layouts from their original contexts and reproduces them using metal chains.

    On the floor, these chains sculpturally represent select titles and logos of Witte de With programs. Shimmering like jewels but weighing down on the physical foundation of the institution, the choice of metal shackles reflects the ambiguity of history itself: it is a treasure and a burden. The display, on the other hand, shows images taken from the Metal Language series (2012) and shows select sentences from political caricatures. The “bling” of the chains along with the many exclamation marks evoke the chaos of wall tagging and protest-graffiti, where many individual statements are embedded into one larger image.

    In Light Of 25 Years
    Presented as part of In Light Of 25 Years, this project celebrates Witte de With’s 25th anniversary. For In Light Of 25 Years, ten artists and curators each create an image-based work that analyzes certain sediments of contemporary art history, departing from Witte de With’s archive.

  • XU ZHEN® Solo Exhibition

    Long Museum, Shanghai China

    On the occasion of the first anniversary of its inauguration, the Long Museum West Bund will host the grand opening of Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition on March 28, 2015. Xu Zhen is an iconic, leading figure within the realm of contemporary Chinese art, and moreover he is the most sought-after international contemporary artist currently. Surveying art ancient and new, the artist marshals Chinese and Western cultures and fuses the quintessence of both. Through his meticulous treatment and distinctive integration of global knowledge and information, he generates an infinite degree of creativity.


    Xu Zhen (born in 1977 in Shanghai, China) engages in an artistic practice that takes in numerous forms of mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography and performance, among others. Within the 30 000-odd sqm space of Long Museum West Bund, this exhibition will showcase over a hundred works, which include not only his earlier representative individual works from the late-1990s but also a series of new works produced after Xu Zhen’s MadeIn Company launched the “Xu Zhen” brand in 2013. Highlights include European Thousand-Hand Classical Sculpture, Artworks Set-Arrogance, the new works The Soldier of Marathon Announcing Victory, A Wounded Galatian and Northern Qi Standing Buddha, Amazon and Barbarian from the Eternityseries, as well as the series MadeIn Curved Vase, Metal Languageand Corporate.


    The exhibition’s advertising slogan—“Witness the Creation of History”—brings to light the sense in which this exhibition echoes history and cultural innovation. At the same time, this equally signals a breakthrough and a leap forward in the artist’s career. It may appear as a matter of course that history is considered a symbol of the past, an exemplar of culture, and a cipher of tradition, and yet Xu Zhen continually breaks down this predetermined mode of thought, deploying everything from within the farrago of global culture. He inherits history and is broadly nourished by tradition; taking up a stance replete with cultural self-confidence and a high degree of cultural reflexivity, he lives for the contemporary.

    With his characteristic humor, Xu Zhen intervenes in all manners of subject matter concerning global culture. With a taut expressiveness, he ingeniously integrates a Western spirit with Eastern culture—a new culture which transcends traditional schemas is hereby born. The all- new creation European Thousand-Hand Classical Sculpture assembles 19 different Western classical sculptures of various forms; borrowing from the shape of the Thousand-Hand Guanyin (Bodhisattva) in Buddhist iconography, the work deals with both the sense of form and spirituality, thereby manifesting a vigorous vitality which dumbfounds the audience’s visual perception. Artworks Set is a compilation of selected creations according to specific topics. Displayed in a box, as a curated exhibition, the composition constitutes a reflection celebration. Eternity grafts the dignified and serene Buddhist statues of the East together with elegant and exquisite Greek statues, thus cutting across vast expanses of space and time; its references to an awe-inspiring scale of art history points to the capaciousness of Eastern wisdom. Eternity— The Soldier of Marathon Announcing Victory, A Wounded Galatian joins two Western sculptural works; its absurd and yet stunning visual effect perfectly showcases the balance of force and belief. MadeIn Curved Vaseturns the necks of ancient Chinese classics of ceramics by 90 degrees and accomplishes the greatest act in ceramic history. Physique of Consciousness Museum, by incorporating social, religious, and traditional forms as elements, invents a calisthenics for the mind and spirit—a first in the world. Metal Language collects words frompolitical caricatures and spells out independent and yet vivid phrases with metal chains, thereby fully developing the tactility of thought. In the newly launched Black Light series of Under Heaven, meanwhile, a sweeping and cavernous forest of black “cream” exudes an intense air of mystery, spouting forth a fearless and dauntless force.


    The exhibition will furthermore present a series of Xu Zhen’s earlier representative individual

    works. These include the video Shouting, created in 1998, where on the crowded streets of Shanghai, Xu Zhen suddenly bursts out screaming—the fright and bewilderment in the crowd’s faces, turned backwards, were fully captured. In Rainbow, a man’s back is beaten until it burns red, and yet the hand doing the beating is abstracted; an intuitive sense of the body and of life is hence clearly seen. This work, moreover, made him the youngest Chinese artist ever to have participated in the main thematic exhibition of the Venice Biennale. The installation ShanghART Supermarket recreates a convenience store on-site: the shelves are crammed full of empty products, while the items, sold at their ordinarily marked prices, only have the external shells of their packaging. The emptiness and the lack of content hit the nail on the head—the dialectical relationship between art and commodity is challenged anew.


    In the globalized post-Internet contemporary, Xu Zhen has continually pioneered forms of artistic creation. As an artist, he also tackles the roles of the curator, entrepreneur, and gallerist. Amid these interchanging identities, he nevertheless ensures that the creation maintains a high degree of consistency and leads MadeIn Company to expand comprehensively in cultural fields—developing curatorial production, research and publications, from galleries to limited- edition artworks. By initiating each of these, he practices what he preaches: the core concept of “producing creativity”.


  • “Twenty” A Solo Exhibition by Xu Zhen®

    PMQ, Hong Kong, China

    HONG KONG. – Adrian Cheng, David Chau and MadeIn Company are pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Xu Zhen in Hong Kong, taking place at PMQ from 11 – 18 March, 2015. Organised by William Zhao, the exhibition of new media and paintings from the artist’s “TWENTY” series, presenting a cornucopia of visual delights, a spectacular exposition of colliding colours that seek to enthrall viewers in an irresistible feast of stimulation. Continuing to explore the concept of “art as commodity”, Xu Zhen exposes the layered issues within contemporary cultural production and consumption.


    As the commissioned artist for the Armory Show (New York) 2014, Xu Zhen presented the “Under Heaven” series to critical acclaim. The temptingly delicious paintings are evocative of confectionary, constructed from thick and creamy pigments, applied using the implements of a pastry chef. The rich surfaces and decorative swirls of impasto mold together into a jungle of intricate Baroque carvings, offering up a dense and fiery feast for the eyes. Simultaneous pleasure and fanaticism are inherent properties of “sensationalism”, and in the artworks of Xu Zhen, together they produce a surprising and stimulating experience.

    Following the “Under Heaven” series, the concept behind the “TWENTY” originates from a curious investigation into the notion of love formed when one is 20 years old. Xu Zhen’s methodology is to collect perceptions, colours that signify the love of a 20-year-old. Communicating vitality and love; bright pastels, lemon chiffon, violet and vermillion transform into flowing shadows on the canvas, forming fragile blossoms on the picture surface. The spirit of youth, passion, and energy resonates with the viewers, instigating a sea of memories that likely provokes an uninhibited exclamation “Oh yes, back when I was 20!”


    Liberated from the ideology of the white cube, “TWENTY” introduces art works using the frameworks and visual language of the luxury commodity market. MadeIn Company has adopted the vernacular of contemporary advertising, developing a marketing campaign for the artworks. Xu Zhen’s quiet humour underlies this critique on the commodification of art, the art market and its consumers.


    Love at 20 is a spirited blend of touching, exuberant, sweet and intimate. The nuances of madness and fantasy in between are exposed in Xu Zhen’s “TWENTY” series, debuting on March 11, 2015 to all who share in the journey of life.

  • XU Zhen®- Produced by MadeIn Company: “Blissful As Gods” 

    ShanghART main space & ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai, China

    My work is to find a new perspective on different cultures.  When you, as a human being, are confident enough to look at these ready-mades, what you need to do is to constantly break the notion of stereotypes and achieve a new ego..”

    • XU Zhen


    XU Zhen: Blissful As Gods produced by MadeIn Company will open on November 11th at ShanghART in Shanghai. This solo exhibition will bring XU Zhen’s latest works including installations, sculptures and two-dimensional works.


    XU Zhen’s practice incorporates a wide range of media, such as painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography and performance, often within a single piece. He possesses a strong thirst for knowledge and distinctive integration ability towards the extremely multifarious global information network, out of which, he creates multi-media and cross-platform works.


    For example, in XU Zhen’s early video work Shouting (1998), a moving crowd faces away from the camera until startled by screams, passers-by all turn around almost in unison (a reaction that elicits laughs from whomever is behind the camera). This work, together with another early video work Rainbow (1998), marked XU Zhen’s name as the youngest Chinese artist to participate in the Venice Biennale (2005 and 2007).


    In 2007, XU Zhen’s installation project ShanghART SUPERMARKET (2007) consisted in a 1:1 scale replica of a typical Chinese convenient store at Art Basel Miami Beach. This store was filled with packages and wrappings containing, literally, nothing. The false appearance of the shop, or of the ghostly merchandise as such, triggered an extensive debate over the illusory booming phenomenon of the art market.


    Eternity is another essential series created by XU Zhen in 2014. It consists of sculptural compositions from reproductions of Western and Asian headless statues displayed in museums throughout the world, grafted and assembled together. This is undoubtedly the most accurate cliché about the enormous amount of Chinese art.


    Along with its celestial nature, XU Zhen: Blissful as Gods will further challenge the concept of “recombination”, it will reconstruct commonly known traditional Buddhist statues, using materials beyond all expectations according to a hidden logic. A new visual perception will be born and quaintly coincide with the world around, thus initiating a dialogue with each other. This dialogue between one ideology and another, will involve culture, history, art, religion, tradition, political space… Through this re-composition, all the materials’ inherent tradition and meaning will be rejected, presenting an intense estrangement and irritation. All these works will be gathered in one exhibition space. Subversions of cultural clashes will create a great impact on viewers. The effrontery and provocation that emanate from MadeIn/Xu Zhen’s art creation as a response to reality will all contribute to the abrupt and chaotic atmosphere of this exhibition.


  • Prey-Xu Zhen®,Produced by MadeIn Company

    Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France

    The series on poor people’s home “Prey”, that uses traditional classic oil painting techniques, is realized after photographs taken by a team sent to Shanghai suburbs and Guizhou province by MadeIn Company. Each painting’s caption consists in a map with the exact address of the home. These artworks combine passion for “old damaged things” with ethic principles, disturbing moral awareness and beauty appreciation, and ironizing aesthetic relation between art and misery.

  • Xu Zhen®-Produced by MadeIn Company

    ShanghART Singapore, Singapore

    ShanghART Singapore has the honour of announcing the exhibition SHANGHART SUPERMARKET | XU Zhen – produced by MadeIn Company will be opened on 4th April 2014 through 18th May 2014.


    XU Zhen (B.1977) is an internationally renowned artist who founded MadeIn Company – a contemporary art creation company in 2009. Last year, MadeIn Company produced the brand “XU Zhen”. Currently, Xu Zhen is experiencing three identity phases: from an individual entity to MadeIn Company’s entrepreneur, to a brand introduced by MadeIn Company. He declared that he would not use his individual identity and instead operates under the MadeIn Company, which is devoted to the endless realms of contemporary culture.


    It is disclosed by Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) that Xu Zhen has a voracious appetite for global information and a unique ability to produce work across multiple platforms and media. Xu Zhen’s oeuvre reflects the lingering concerns of an artist participating in the international art world while remaining deeply skeptical of it and its conventions, most immediately the label “Chinese contemporary art.” Xu Zhen’s artworks probe the various mediations that corrupt the viewer’s experience of an artwork, particularly in observing a culture that is not one’s own.


    Named as the “chameleon of concept”, XU Zhen has been commissioned by The Armory Show 2014 in New York; at the same time, presenting a major mid-career survey exhibition “XU Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production” in UCCA, Beijing. As a leading conceptual artist in the world, Xu Zhen has exhibited extensively across the globe such as Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York, Tate Liverpool and The 49th Venice Biennale.


    Meticulously created and previously exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2007, the SHANGHART SUPERMARKET was the highlight of the show. The installation began as a fully stocked and functioned store, but by the last day of the show, the shelves were almost depleted. In this project, the rules of the game for both art and the global market are seemingly collapsed. In 2008, the installation was re-created and collected by Queensland Art Gallery. Similarly, Xu Zhen effectively transforms ShanghART Singapore into a full-scale replica of a typical Chinese convenience store, which is effectively promoted and encouraged as a tool to specifically resist the establishment of their foreign counterparts, while the genealogy and aesthetic of such store is inherently Western in aspiration. Xu Zhen cleverly manipulates and invents upon a delicate matrix of power relations in SHANGHART SUPERMARKET, while the ambiguous and paradoxical significance of the supermarket acts like a metaphor of the local identity in heartlands of Singapore.


    Upon entering the installation, shelves of basic daily necessities greet us with much familiarity; however the trick inside indicates there is much more at stake than the obvious critique of exchange value. It recalls Guy Debord’s classic formulation, “Is capital accumulated to the point where it becomes images?” The ambiguous status of the supermarket, which has been stripped of all its defining qualities, seems to indicate that consumption is essential, but also destroys.


    This interactive mixed media installation invites visitors to purchase any product in SHANGHART SUPERMARKET; a receipt will be issued upon a transaction made. Of this process, what are you really buying, a piece of art work or an object of critical play with witty parody? Or perhaps…

  • Xu Zhen®-A MadeIn Company Production

    Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

    A major mid-career retrospective explores the protean Shanghai artist’s interest in geopolitical subjectivity and the conditions of (Chinese) contemporary art


    UCCA is proud to announce a major mid-career survey of mercurial Chinese artist Xu Zhen (b. 1977, Shanghai), one of the most interesting and promising artists working in China today. A daring artist with a voracious appetite for global information and a unique ability to produce work across multiple platforms and media, Xu Zhen is a key figure in the Shanghai art scene and a foundational figure for the generations of Chinese artists born since 1980. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Director Philip Tinari and UCCA Chief Curator Paula Tsai.


    Xu Zhen’s practice incorporates a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, mechanical installation, video, photography, and performance, often within a single piece. “Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production” comprises a similarly diverse set of works, with over 30 installation pieces, 10 videos, 20 painting works, and several performances, filling UCCA’s signature Great Hall. The exhibition spans Xu Zhen’s early works made in his own name beginning in 1997, works made under the moniker MadeIn Company between 2009 and 2013, as well as significant new pieces produced specially for this exhibition under MadeIn Company’s “Xu Zhen” brand.


    The title “Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production” acknowledges the longstanding relationship between the artist’s individual practice and his sprawling involvement with the Shanghai contemporary art scene. In 2009, Xu Zhen dissolved his art practice into the “contemporary art creation company” MadeIn Company. Acting as the group’s CEO, Xu Zhen continues to undertake creative projects, artworks, and exhibitions under this revised mantle. MadeIn encapsulates Xu Zhen’s unique conflation of art practice, curatorial work, and art promotion that has defined his multifarious career in the Shanghai art scene. The artist’s withdrawal from his own name marks a rejection of the persona-driven contemporary art world while acknowledging that, since he first began working with art in 1997, Xu Zhen’s artwork has always been a collaborative effort.


    Says Tinari, “Since the early 2000s, Xu Zhen, with his unique combination of skepticism and action, contemplation and involvement, has produced some of the most compelling and self-knowing art contemporary China has ever seen. We look forward to presenting his considerable output to audiences who might not yet be familiar with the arc of his career.”


    A prankster provocateur in the vein of Yves Klein, Xu Zhen engages a variety issues with his characteristic wryness, from the politics of intercultural and international viewing in Lonely Miracle: Middle East Contemporary Art (a “group show” of works by fictional Middle Eastern artists), to voyeurism and ethical anxiety in depictions of race and suffering in The Starving of Sudan (an in-gallery tableau recreating Kevin Carter’s iconic 1994 photograph of a starving infant), to satire of de rigeur contemporary art practices in 8848-1.86 (wherein the artist “removes” a chunk of Mount Everest equivalent to his own height from the summit and brings it back for display in the museum).  Presented together, Xu Zhen’s oeuvre reflects the lingering concerns of an artist participating in the international art world while remaining deeply skeptical of it and its conventions, most immediately the label “Chinese contemporary art.” Xu Zhen’s artworks probe the various mediations that corrupt the viewer’s experience of an artwork, particularly in observing a culture that is not one’s own.


    “Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production” includes a number of Xu Zhen’s landmark works. His 2001 video Scream, in which the artist lets out pained shouts on crowded city streets, only to capture the sequential shock and dismissal of hundreds of passers-by, made him the youngest Chinese artist to date to be included in the Venice Biennale. His 2007 installation Shanghart Supermarket, which takes the shape of a Shanghai convenience store fully stocked with packaging that has been emptied of content, sold for the price of the putative objects, was widely debated when it debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach at the height of the last art-market bubble. In Physique of Consciousness Museum, Xu Zhen uses a set of formal criteria to array archaeological and ethnographic artifacts—actually just mounted photographs of the same—without respect to place or time of origin.


    In a major new commission for the lobby, Xu Zhen literally and winkingly juxtaposes East and West—that operative cliché of so much art in China—by mounting replicas of key Hellenistic and Buddhist sculptures head to head.


    The UCCA exhibition is realized in collaboration with MadeIn Company and with the support of [XU ZHEN SPONSOR INFORMATION HERE]. It is accompanied by an eponymous catalogue which will mark the first comprehensive monograph on the artist’s work, with essays by Philip Tinari and Lu Mingjun. The exhibition will coincide with The Armory Show 2014 (March 5-9), for which Xu Zhen has been appointed the Commissioned Artist as part of the “Armory Focus: China” section which Tinari has curated.


  • The Most Important Thing Is Not the Contract

    OCT, Shanghai, China

    From December 22, 2013 to March 22, 2014, OCT will present the exhibition The Most Important Thing Is Not the Contract by XU Zhen, featuring installation Movement Field and a new site-specific work. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany this exhibition.

  • Movement Field-Xu Zhen® Solo Exhibiton, produced by MadeIn Company

    Long March Space, Beijing, China

    Each of us has a certain desire of accomplishing a movement – Xu Zhen


    Provocation has always been a main aspect in Xu Zhen’s creation, touching upon taboos, definitions and rules. His early work 8848-1.86, fully reflects doubts about power and truth – this installation is a ‘troublemaker’, ironizing humankind’s illusory and blind pursuit for a certain ‘apogee’- it encompasses the current chaotic situation in politics, economy, culture and history generated by ambitions of hegemony, selfish desires. With provocation as a stimulus, Xu Zhen builds a systematized ‘destruction/reconstruction’ cycle. This logic reached its climax when in 2009 he announced that ‘Xu Zhen’ was over, and began ‘MadeIn Company’. Under his direction, MadeIn creative team acted in a more radical way, at the edge of art creation, power and business. Operating under a public ‘undercover’ identity, ‘MadeIn’ undertook all kind of experiences within this mechanism.


    As Xu Zhen elaborated this art system, ‘Movement’ became a new keyword, it pointed out and aroused a reflection on the complexity of human collective consciousness and attitude. The series Movementism, created in 2012, was conceived by Xu Zhen as he subtly caught the fact that “people all have a certain desire of accomplishing a movement”.The newly created Movement Field that will be presented this time, is an utopian space composed of multiplereal movement-related itineraries. This Movement Field is a memorial, which questions past and future commemorations; it constitutes a place for infinite spiritual quests. Thus, works from the series True Image exhibited within this Movement Field represents a form of media creation based on media diffusion. Among them, pictorial installations inspired by ‘faith’ and ‘symbols’, such as a lotus composed of gas stoves and huge rainbows Buddha,embody Xu Zhen’s comprehension of faith and self-belief. ‘Ginseng’ images collected from the internet, probe Eastern and Western different cultural backgrounds and knowledge about a similar material, this work alludes to a certain upright tolerance within disorder and confusion.


    These works by XuZhen, will all be displayed in MadeIn Company Spring 2013 New Works Exhibition organized by Long March Space. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience Xu Zhen’s Movementism. Xu Zhen considers that Human actions (and thoughts) that are stimulated by goals constitute a movement, he raises requests on its scale, adheres to this attitude, and determines a particular way of understanding. Through his signature provocation and doubt, 
Xu Zhen audaciously reveals his attitude towards the world.

    Produced by MadeIn Company

  • Turbulent

    Bund 18 Temporary Space, Shanghai China

    Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.

  • Offsite:MadeIn Company

    Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

    Vancouver, BC – For the seventh installation at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite, contemporary Chinese art collective MadeIn Company is presenting Calm, a work which prompts passers-by to reconsider their perceptions. At first glance, Calm appears to be a large mound of debris from a demolition or recent disaster. Upon closer inspection, the pile of rubble slowly undulates, like a mirage. In a state of constant flux, this site-specific sculpture evokes the endlessly changing cityscape that has become typical of many urban centres of the world, whether in present day China or Vancouver. Calm’s ambiguity, along with the work’s unexpected movement, questions ways of observing, believing and understanding, and reminds us that truth often differs from what it seems.


    MadeIn Company is an artist collective established by Chinese artist and provocateur Xu Zhen in 2009. The Shanghai-based group satirically portrays itself as a contemporary art corporation focused on the production of creativity, with up to thirty artists working on any given project. MadeIn Company also curates exhibitions and supports art projects, including the Chinese contemporary art online forum called Art Ba-Ba. In a short time the group has participated in both national and international exhibitions at such institutions as S.M.A.K. Gent, IKON Gallery Birmingham, Kunsthalle Bern, Hayward Gallery London, Rijskakademie Amsterdam and have also participated in the 8th Shanghai Biennale, 7th Busan Biennale and 1st Kiev Biennale. Members of MadeIn Company are currently working in both Shanghai and Beijing, China.


    Offsite, the Gallery’s outdoor exhibition space in downtown Vancouver, located on West Georgia Street near Thurlow and Bute streets, is dedicated to newly commissioned public art projects. Since the launch of Offsite in 2009, artists have responded in dynamic ways to the specific nature of the site. Past Offsite exhibitions include: O Zhang’s photographic portraits of young Chinese girls as the next generation of empowered citizens (Horizon (Sky), 2009), Ken Lum’s sculptural reminder of contested local histories (from shangri–la to shangri–la, 2010), an installation by British artists Heather and Ivan Morison (Plaza, 2010), Elspeth Pratt’s spatial transformation of the site (Second Date, 2011), Kota Ezawa’s representation of democracy (Hand Vote, 2012) and most recently Damian Moppett’s transformation of the artist’s studio into a sculptural artwork (Artist’s Studio as Sculpture, 2012).


    Offsite is funded by the City of Vancouver through the Public Art Program. The Gallery recognizes Ian Gillespie, President, Westbank, Ben Yeung, President, Peterson Investment Group, and the residents at Shangri-La for their support of this space. This project is generously supported by our Visionary Partner: Michael O’Brian Family Foundation. Offsite: MadeIn Company is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Diana Freundl, assistant curator.

  • MadeIn Company

    Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai,China

    Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.

  • Movement – MadeIn Company Fall 2012 Works Launch

    MadeIn Company Exhibition Space, Shanghai, China

    MadeIn Company presents, “movement”: a need of activity related to growth and spiritual reflection, a social action that aims to enrich life, improves one’s condition and develops knowledge, through exercises, thoughts, experiences, judgments, etc. Within this concept, MadeIn Company will show for the first time a new series of work Movement, which include installations, performance, paintings and other creations.


    MadeIn Company was established in 2009 in Shanghai by Xu Zhen, it is a contemporary art creation company, focused on the production of creativity, and devoted to the research of contemporary culture’s infinite possibilities.

  • Xu Zhen®: Forbidden Castle

    Montanelli Museum, Prague, Czech

    Forbidden Castle presents a selection of work by Xu Zhen, one of the most radical and humorous artists working in China today. The exhibition challenges notions of reality, politics, and the self and will include installation sculptures, video-films, and photography. The works pre-date the founding of Xu Zhen’s MadeIn Company in 2009, after which he ceased to produce work under his own name.

    MuMo will present the last work Xu Zhen produced under his own name, Untitled, a house of cards made of over 160,000 custom playing cards in the form of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the castle-like former residence of the Tibetan god-king, the Dalai Lama.

    The Museum Montanelli stands below Prague Castle, the largest castle in the world and for centuries the seat of the powerful and inspiration for Kafka’s novel The Castle. Prague Castle’s function and location remind us of the Potala Palace and this analogy was the trigger to bring to Prague the unique artwork Untitled.

    Other important works to be shown include the video Rainbow, first exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Xu Zhen started out making videos that focused on the body and public space in a manner reminiscent of early Bruce Nauman or Vito Acconci: the video Rainbow (1998) shows a man’s exposed back becoming increasingly red, the result of slaps heard on the sound track but never seen.

    In August 2005 Xu Zhen and his team climbed the 8,848-meter high Mount Everest, which sits partly within China’s borders. They succeeded in slicing off the peak of the mountain—an amount equal to Xu Zhen’s own height—and taking it down. His video 8.848-1.86 (2005) documents the expedition, which included displaying the removed 1.86 metres of the mountain’s peak in a large refrigerated vitrine cabinet (now in the collection of Tate Modern). The video, among other allusions, is a subtle and humorous commentary on China’s nationalism but also on the ‘measure’ and perception of the individual within the mass. At the time, the work caused huge outcry in China because many people thought it had really happened, whereas the entire performance was actually a calculated confection.

    It presents the famous footprint of the first step of Neil Armstrong on the moon reproduced on a single grain of sand. With this “giant step for mankind” Xu Zhen created the smallest artwork in the world, challenging notions of reality as received information.

    18 Days records a trip that the artist undertook with the aim of breaching the borders of China’s neighbouring countries with remote controlled toy weapons. Xu Zhen bought some remote control weapons, then on the frontier line between China and neighbouring countries, he remotely controlled these toy tanks, ships, and aircraft so they entered the neighbouring territories. This documentary work recorded the whole event over 18 days.

    Xu Zhen has exhibited at many leading museums and biennales around the world, including Venice Biennale (2001 and 2005), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2004), International Center for Photography (2004), Yokohama Triennial (2005), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2005), MoMA PS1 (New York, 2006), Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, 2006), Tate Liverpool (2007), Istanbul Biennale (2007), Ikon Gallery (Birmingham, 2009), S.M.A.K (Ghent, 2010), Bern Kunsthalle (2011), and Kiev Biennale (2012).

    Forbidden Castle is Xu Zhen’s first exhibition in Central Europe.
    Forbidden Castle is realized together with Madeln Company, Servodata, and mooreandmooreart.


  • Turbulent

    MadeIn Company Exhibition Space, Shanghai, China (MadeIn Company)

    MadeIn Company will present on April 26th, a new exhibiLon “Turbulent”, composed of three series of new works that include acLon painLngs, installaLon and new photographs from the series True Image. This confusing and sLmulaLng display of creaLons will generate an “incomparable turbulent“ atmosphere, inspired from MadeIn Company’s long term focus on “’energy’ produced by artworks”. Itbecame a central aspect in the company’s creaLon pracLce, which also aRempts to respond to “exhibiLng” related issues.


    One of MadeIn Company’s theoreLcal concepts is: “more than content, we rather considerate the energy issued from creaLon”, not in terms of physiology but more as desire, judgment, renewal, pressure, intenLon, doubt…as well as energy produced by the company.


    “Turbulent” reflects MadeIn Company’s latest spirit, and consLtutes a characterisLc of our Lme where things appear and disappear anyLme and randomly.

  • Sleeping Life Away

    Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France

    Galerie Nathalie Obadia is delighted to present the first exhibition in France by MadeIn Company, a “contemporary art company” founded in 2009 by the artist Xu Zhen, aged 35, a rising star in Chinese contemporary art, who comes from Shanghai.


    The iconoclastic creation of a renowned artist who, in the age of the artist as star, has decided to forgo his personal identity, MadeIn is a unique entity on the contemporary scene, a kind of “unidentified artistic object” that challenges the sacrosanct notion of the author with intelligence and ironic humour. MadeIn Company is a genuine business which employs a score of men and women to ‘”research infinite cultural possibilities,” as its founding charter states. Moving been straight reality and parody, this application of the corporate model to art-making has resulted in the creation of a think tank capable of coming up with powerful and surprising artworks in a wide variety of media (paintings, sculptures, installations), which are always seen from a curatorial viewpoint.


    For its first exhibition at Galerie Nathalie Obadia, MadeIn Company has thus put together an authentic conceptual programm announced by its manifesto-like title, Sleeping Life Away, which alerts visitors to the danger of collective anaesthesia in the age of mass consumption and the reign of communications (image over substance) in politics.


    Six alluring and colorful large-format collages offer an alternative vision of human history. The combination of Chinese and western imagery gleaned from the Internet – traditional Chinese prints, French 19th-century caricatures, medieval images, exotic bestiaries – mediated through a patchwork of sensuous materials (fabric, feathers, sequins, beads, etc.) brings to mind the folkloric dimension of big traditional tapestries while distancing the epic yet ridiculous narratives of the dominant ideology.


    In this same spirit of demystifying imperial, military and colonial propaganda, three series of imposing sculptures are installed in the gallery. These black, bulky pieces recalling primitive totems feature soldier figures: in one, a man with peaked cap advances proudly on the back of a lion, epitomizing the ambiguity of power which, while claiming to protect, becomes tyrannical. This ambiguity is heightened by the contrast between the grandiose dimensions of these icons, some of them over three meters high, and the insubstantial nature of the foam from which they are made – as insubstantial as these empty and deceptive mass representations.

  • Action of Consciousness

    ShanghART Gallery & H Space, Shanghai (MadeIn Company)

    In this exhibition, the company’s artworks will be developed around the concept of “action”.  Since the first solo exhibition “Seeing One’s Own Eyes, Contemporary Art from the Middle East” in 2009, MadeIn Company always emphasizes on “action” as a method. Beginning of year 2011, MadeIn Company created a fitness exercise “Physique of Consciousness” gathering ritual movements and gestures related to spiritual beliefs. These thoughts and creations reflect this notion of “action”, developed aside from artworks production.


    In the recent series “Action of Consciousness”, MadeIn Company innovated a new way of admiring artworks, extending the existence possibility of the “object”, and redefining the rights of observing. Simultaneously, “Action of Consciousness” can be understood as the “ideology in action”. MadeIn Company pointed out that in contemporary art “no matter how much is done it is never enough”. In the continuous process of completing, transforming and redefining art, the “object” as an artwork and the “action” as consciousness become a new viewing content and challenge reality.


    MadeIn Company was established in 2009 and exhibited in numerous international institutions, including Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, China; the Kunsthalle in Bern, Switzerland; IKON Gallery in Birmingham, U.K.; S.M.A.K in Gent, Belgium, Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, China; the 8th Shanghai Biennale and the Busan Biennale 2010, Korea.



  • Physique of Consciousness

    Long March Space, Beijing (MadeIn Company)

    The Long March Space launch of “Physique of Consciousness” will also feature a series of new paintings by MadeIn Company. The new works continue MadeIn’s investigation of the relationship between painting and media that can be found in works shown in last year’s exhibitions “Don’t Hang Your Faith on the Wall,” and “Expiration Period 2”.  MadeIn’s approach towards painting explores the relationship between the deeply individualistic nature of painting as a direct expression of an individual’s perception and thought process, as well as it’s public life as an art object and an image that can be transmitted through the media. In terms of subject matter, technique, and visual effect, these paintings mark a new creative breakthrough.

    In speaking about MadeIn’s creative method, attention and energy is primarily given to debates surrounding factory production, commercialization, and questions surrounding collective authorship of artwork.   Is MadeIn really anti-establishment, or is it just opportunistic?   When looking at artistic creation, the majority of energy is focused on identifying the motives behind the moment of materialization of the artwork, and whether or not the artist’s plan, and his every action and step is a breakthrough, as opposed to observing and comparing the changing relationships between artist and his environment, between creation and explanation, and asking about the possibilities within an artist’s direction of inquiry.  For it is the scope of the inquiry that sets the stand for how pregnant with possibilities such a direction can be.  We are accustomed to look at artworks separately from their explanations, their creation and their promotion.  In other words, how artworks are mediated.  The reading of an artwork is not just confined to the art world.  Be it visual symbols or language, the textual explanations or a personal reading of the artwork, all of these constitute a level of communal participation in the reading of an artwork – a process is closely linked with the media industry.

    The project “Physique of Consciousness” does not take Long March Space as a conventional art space, nor does it attempt to question the exhibition format and the use of a particular space.  Rather, “Physique of Consciousness” attempts to jump out from the hidden ideologies behind the art exhibition system. MadeIn’s artistic practice takes interacting relationships between the art world and society to create specific experiments and transformations.  Over the past two years, MadeIn has continually examined its condition and positioning.  To this end, MadeIn remains in constant negotiation with the art world and the broader society, resisting against easy narratives that achieve a superficial consensus.


  • Physique of Consciousness

    Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (MadeIn Company)

    “Spread” is an independent art project developed by MadeIn Company since 2009. This project is aimed at thought and creation of various issues. Ideas and elements of cartoons from all over the World are continuously selected and assembled into creative compositions in the form of collages on canvas, installations, paintings, animations, etc.


    This time, MadeIn Company would like to bring “Spread” into the Museum, which let it be a concept carrier of “Spread”. The exhibition forms include animation, performance, concept, video, installation, etc.

  • Don’t Hang Your Faith on The Wall

    Long March Space, Beijing (MadeIn Company)

    While critically observing the internal structure of art system, MadeIn seeks to extend its operations beyond the logics of practicality and self sustainability of artist as an individual, forming a new production relationship.


    Since MadeIn’s foundation in 2009, popular readings of the company have revolved around its identities, commercial activities and productivities. However, MadeIn’s focus is its open attitude to multiple interpretations, experimentation with research processes, and a determination to realize realities. Instead of ‘producing,’ MadeIn is dedicated to ‘come into being.’

  • Seeing One’s Own Eyes

    IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK (MadeIn Company)

  • There are new species! What do you suppose they are called?

    Fabien Fryns Fine Art, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

    Fabien Fryns Fine Art is pleased to present its grand opening by MadeIn, an art collaboration founded by Chinese artist Xu Zhen. Titled “There are new species! What do you suppose they are called?” The exhibition includes 4 extraordinary collage works, ranging from 250 by 180 cm to 350 by 250 cm, and one 1.6-meter tall sculpture, all assembled with fabrics, embroideries and other notions commonly seen in the apparel industry and toy factories. The tactile and compelling works take on world history, politics, religion and diverse cultures in the style of Robert Crumb’s comic strips and editorial cartoons seen in everyday newspaper.

    Combining a dazzling array of quotations, visual metaphors and labels found in Western media, MadeIn creates intentionally clichéd and controversial imagery with special affinity to the new phenomena in the New World, such as the economic downturn, Obama’s new administration, the climate change, immigration debates and the two wars that Americans are currently fighting. Borrowing the blunt and humorous language of political cartoons, the artist introduces us to his critical, satirical and subversive visions of the West from a distance, draws our attention to the current conflicts and questions the present-day superpower and the new order of the world.

    Since 2009, Xu has ceased to be an individual artist bearing his own name. All exhibitions and curatorial projects have come under the name of MadeIn Company, of which Xu Zhen declares himself CEO overseeing artistic creation, productivity and branding. MadeIn’s goal is eventually to completely erase an artist’s identity and replace it with a brand name.

  • XU ZHEN Video Works

    Galerie Waldburger,Brussel,Belgium

  • Spread-by MadeIn, ShanghART Beijing

    Beijing, China (MadeIn Company)

    On the occasion of the second anniversary of ShanghART Beijing, a special project curated and conceptualized by MadeIn is spreading from Shanghai to Beijing now!!!

    MadeIn, a newly founded art collaboration initiated by artist Xu Zhen, will exhibit an exquisite selection of works in a wide variety of media (including installation, sculpture, painting, and collage) to represent a compellingly diversified perspective of contemporary Chinese art. The works take on history, politics, and the everyday; approaches informed as much by reality as by fiction.

    Following up to MadeIn’s successful debut in 2009, the art agency now extends its curatorial practice by staging a never-seen-before series of mixed-media installations titled Spread (2009). Consisting of various materials and fabrics, these tactile works indicate a playful turn from painting in favor of the three-dimensional object. Here, the structures are fluid; sometimes the contour of the depictions deliberately breaks up, or morphs into sculpture in thick gaudy textures. The intentionally clichéd and controversial imagery of these works mimics satirical cartoons, and refers to today’s politics with special affinity to foreign affairs. MadeIn combines a dazzling array of quotations and images to create visual cacophony while challenging and undermining any pretensions toward current politics. The use of stylized images borrowed from pop culture lends these works a surprising modesty.

    Cartoon style takes on an even more biting edge in the series of works Metal Language (2009) that consist of ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ chains formed into speech bubbles which contain slogan-like one-liners. By appropriating and borrowing messages and rhetorical devices of mass media, public service announcements, and news reports these works prompt a critical approach to information. A selection of the works on display premiered in December at Art Basel Miami Beach 09, and later exhibited at ShanghART Huaihai space in January 2010.

    Installation ‘Love in fact results from an excess of dopamine in the brain’ is made up of various materials. All kinds of wasted foam blocks build up a giant room which has no entrance, and stage lightings inside reveals from gaps with effects of magnificent fancy colours.

  • Spread—New Exhibition Produced by MadeIn

    ShanghART at Huaihai Rd 796, Shanghai, China (MadeIn Company)

    Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.

  • MadeIn — Seeing One’s Own Eyes-europalia.china

    S.M.A.K., Gent, Belgium (MadeIn Company)

  • Lonely Miracle: Middle East Contemporary Art

    Exhibition James Cohan Gallery, New York, U.S.A.

    James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present the second gallery exhibition by Chinese conceptual artist, Xu Zhen. A leading figure among the youngest generation of Chinese artists, Xu Zhen is a chameleon of concept whose work often takes the form of theatrical pranks and provocative interventions in order to confront socio-political taboos within the context of contemporary China.

    In this exhibition, Xu Zhen plays the trickster once again by presenting paintings, sculptures and installations by a “new generation” of Middle Eastern artists. Under the curatorship of MadeIn, a company established by the artist that is described as a “multi-functional art company” (the word madein means organization in Chinese,) Xu Zhen seeks to create a fiction that will provoke the viewer to think about issues of cultural perception. A deft master at creating alternate realities and mistaken identities, Xu Zhen challenges viewers to doubt the exhibition’s validity even though the artworks and ideas are presented as facts. The works are rife with clichéd symbols, such as Arabic calligraphy, fragments of ceramic artifacts, images of camels and political cartoons, in an attempt to create work that will meet Western expectations for a brand of contemporary Middle Eastern art much in the same way that smiling Mao and Panda paintings became the brand for post-Cultural Revolutionary art in China in the 1980’s. This exhibition highlights the interplay between the tendency of the West to create a neat package for art from other cultures and the artists’ willing participation in these expectations, a phenomenon supported and enhanced by the market bubble. With a wink of an eye, Xu Zhen defies artistic colonialism by asking the viewer to accept these stereotypes as compelling.

    Over his decade-long career, Xu Zhen has exhibited internationally, at museums and biennales, including, Venice Biennale (2001, 2005), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2004), ICP (2004), Mori Art Museum (2005), PS1 (2006), Tate Liverpool (2007).

  • Seeing One’s Own Eyes——Middle East Contemporary Art Exhibition , Space #2

    ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai, China

    This exhibition is an artistic representation of the multi-aspect situation in the Middle-East from a Chinese point of view. Creation of the exhibited works was based on respect, objectivity and strictness. An approach to the Middle East world seen from heartedly devoted Chinese people, with the hope that this third party’s objective vision can comprehend the two others. Through art, stimulate communication and understanding between people, work for the peace in the world and pluri-cultural coexistence.

    All images and texts that this exhibition refers to are compositions of selected caricatural images that have been published in various international public media. The selection was done according to both cultures’ differences, as equal as possible, to reduce misunderstanding and enhance comprehension. Through art, contradictions are dissolved and peace is shared.

    The beauty of art isn’t meant to create division, just as love isn’t either. Mozi said: “The world is ruled when there is communication and chaotic when there is mutual hate”. We create to encourage understanding. As the exhibition title announces it, we hope that art is as limpid as eyes, revealing the purity of our heart.

  • Seeing One’s Own Eyes——Middle East Contemporary Art Exhibition , Space #1

    ShanghART Main Space, Shanghai, China

    This exhibition is an artistic representation of the multi-aspect situation in the Middle-East from a Chinese point of view. Creation of the exhibited works was based on respect, objectivity and strictness. An approach to the Middle East world seen from heartedly devoted Chinese people, with the hope that this third party’s objective vision can comprehend the two others. Through art, stimulate communication and understanding between people, work for the peace in the world and pluri-cultural coexistence.

    All images and texts that this exhibition refers to are compositions of selected caricatural images that have been published in various international public media. The selection was done according to both cultures’ differences, as equal as possible, to reduce misunderstanding and enhance comprehension. Through art, contradictions are dissolved and peace is shared.

    The beauty of art isn’t meant to create division, just as love isn’t either. Mozi said: “The world is ruled when there is communication and chaotic when there is mutual hate”. We create to encourage understanding. As the exhibition title announces it, we hope that art is as limpid as eyes, revealing the purity of our heart.

  • The Last Few Mosquitos

    Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K.

    Xu Zhen is emerging as one of the most inventive young Chinese artists. His gestures in a wide range of media – sculpture, video, installation – are dramatic and knowing, breathtaking in their audacity, aesthetically and conceptually ambitious. Installation 8848–1.86 (2005) took the conquering of Mount Everest as its subject and included a sculptural interpretation of the mountain‘s summit inside a vast glass case.

    Clichés of human ambition recur in Xu Zhen’s work, often with a sense of humour that tends to undermine assumptions of worth. What exactly is the point of reaching the top of Mount Everest? Likewise, 18 Days (2006) is a video work in which a military skirmish over national frontiers is re-enacted by the artist and friends, on location in northern China, playing around with toy tanks and other battle vehicles. The childish game we witness clearly raises questions about territorialism and a symptomatic resort to warfare. In another work Xu Zhen invokes the sublime by engraving an astronaut’s footprint on a grain of sand. Seen through the lens of a microscope, it is very reminiscent of Neil Armstrong’s “one small step or [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”.

    For summertime at Eastside, Ikon presents another small sculptural piece, a slightly-larger-than-life-size replica of a mosquito. One of The Last Few Mosquitoes, it sits on the wall of our ‘white cube’ project space. On close inspection it appears to be sucking blood from the building, glowing red as it ingests the nutrition it needs. This insect is an effective symbol, but in the light of Xu Zhen’s notorious reluctance to interpret his work, we are left free to develop our own theories. Context is vital to meaning, so here, in this art gallery, does this creature represent consumers of what the institutional art world has to offer? Should we read the walls as skin, and re-conceive the gallery as a kind of organism prone to parasitic opportunism?

    The title suggests the result of some government directive (the kind that characterises a totalitarian state), whereby the elimination of these ubiquitous, annoying insects was decreed, and we now have an opportunity to see a remnant of an endangered species. Or we could be more positive. Perhaps Xu Zhen is asking us to imagine a better world, one without mosquitoes, after these last ones have sucked their last drops. Should we care? What exactly is the point of mosquitoes?


  • ARCO Madrid 2009-28 International Contemporary Art Fair


    ShanghART Gallery is pleased to announce its third participation at ARCO Madrid art fair as part of the Special Section curated by Colin Chinnery. Here we will present a solo-exhibition with Xu Zhen, featuring a series of new works.

    Abstract Paintings I-V (2008) are Xu Zhen’s most recent production and one that marks a desire to delve further into conditions of art’s modus operandi. As a point of departure for his new abstract pieces, the artist asked various people to cover the, then, blank canvases with Chinese characters. Finally, Xu Zhen alters the writings with layers of abstract images that allow the original subjects to all but disappear. The texture of writing and paint blends and merges in color and form to depict a terrain both familiar and oblique. What was once very literal statements mutate into an indecipherable camouflage of new forms, and a perfect abstract painting is all that remains.

    Xu Zhen (b. 1977, Shanghai) is considered one of China’s foremost young conceptual artists. Over the past decade, Xu Zhen has consistently sought to push the boundaries of social assumption, cultural anomaly and the imagined world and its factual relation, to name but a few of the constructs to which he humorously critiques contemporary life. His work, prolific and diverse, crosses the mediums of video, photography, performance and installation, and whilst addressing sensitive social and political issues, it is at once conceptually astute and powerfully provocative. Xu Zhen’s work has been shown extensively in China and abroad, most recently included in the Third Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, 2008 and ‘PERFORMA07: Second Biennial of Visual Art Performance’, New York, USA, 2007. He participated at the Istanbul Biennale (2007) and the Venice Biennale (2005).

  • Impossible is Nothing , XU Zhen Solo Exhibition

    Long March Space, Beijing, China

    Sorry, this entry is only available in 中文.

  • Xu Zhen, Folkert de Jong, and Martha Colburn , Xu Zhen ShanghART Supermarket

    James Cohan Gallery, New York, U.S.A.

    James Cohan Gallery is pleased to open our fall season with three separate exhibitions. Chinese conceptualist Xu Zhen will transform the front gallery into a replica of a Shanghai convenience store, as he did previously for Art Basel Miami Beach 2007. With all packages for sale at Chinese prices, yet empty of their contents, Zhen’s installation is a project in which the rules of the game for both art and the global market are—seemingly—collapsed.

  • Just did It!

    James Cohan Gallery, New York, U.S.A.

    James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by Chinese artist Xu Zhen. This is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition. Xu has become well known in recent years for creating videos, installations, photographs and performances that challenge common perceptions of “truth.” His coyly provocative works draw our attention to ideas about territory and possession.

    The exhibition at James Cohan Gallery will include three works. Featured in the main gallery will be a spare new sculpture entitled It, consisting of a tiny speck of mud viewable through a microscope. One viewer at a time discovers that the minute sculpture depicts the famous image of Neil Armstrong’s first footprint on the moon. With this installation, Xu Zhen continues his ongoing investigation of fact and fiction by referencing the controversial debate over the 1969 Apollo 11 lunar landing. Various conspiracy theorists claim that during the Cold War era, the United States government faked the American lunar landing in its haste to beat the Soviet Union to the moon. Thus, by creating a faux artifact from a possible non-event, Xu highlights the media’s role in directing modern-day history and poses the question: where do we stand?

    The exhibition will also feature two of Xu Zhen’s recent video works, 18 Days, 2006 and 8848-1.86, 2005. In the premiere installation of 8848-1.86 at the 2005 Yokohama International Triennale in Japan, a “documentary” video showed the artist and a team of expert climbers sawing off a 1.86 meter tip of Mount Everest; the verisimilitude of this feat was underscored by the installation of a refrigerated case that enclosed the icy mountain peak (not included in this exhibition). The skeptical audience in Yokohama was further confused by a coincidental Chinese news report that the mountain’s height was 4 meters less than its previous measurement of 8,848 meters. As Hans Ulrich Obrist summarizes, “it is precisely this slippery character of socially accepted reality that Xu calls ‘mobile public fact,’ something the artist addresses often in a practice that is noticeable for its political punch.”

    18 Days, another video produced in documentary style, records a collaborative trip the artist took with a group of friends in 2006, during which he planned to “invade” China’s neighboring countries Myanmar, Mongolia and Russia. A series of mishaps and unsuccessful attempts finally resulted in a successful crossing at the border with Myanmar; an invasion we are told in a voice-over that was achieved with an arsenal of remote-control operated toy weapons.

    Most recently, at the 2007 Art Basel Miami Beach art fair, Xu created an exact replica of a Shanghai convenience store in which all of the objects for sale were real product packaging emptied of their content. Complete with a cash register and uniformed employees, the installation was not only transportative, but was also a clever commentary on the commercial context of the art fair.

    His work has been shown internationally and was recently included in Performa07, NY; the 10th International Istanbul Biennial (2007); Art Unlimited 2007 at ArtBasel 38; China Power Station: Part II, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway (2007); and The Real Thing – Contemporary Art from China at Tate Liverpool (2007). Xu was also included in the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) and represented China at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005). Xu Zhen was born in 1977 and lives and works in Shanghai.

  • Xu Zhen: ShanghART Supermarket | Art Basel Miami Beach 2007

    Art Fairs Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami, U.S.A.

    ‘The talk of the fair was Shanghai-based gallery ShanghART’s booth, which artist Xu Zhen had turned into an exact replica of a 24-hour Chinese convenience store’ … ARTINFO, NY – Dec 5, 2007. ‘ShanghART never disappoints. This year: Xu Zhen’s reconstruction of an Asian market’.  ‘The most stand out work was Xu Zhen’s, ShanghART Supermarket – a Chinese …’

    Xu Zhen’s new project effectively manipulates, and invents upon a delicate matrix of power relations. His installation, thus, is a full-scale replica of what is alleged to be a proto-typical Chinese convenient store. One of these only to be meticulously copied 1:1 and re-named by the artist, and finally transplanted across the Pacific and set up in the United States. With their easily recognizable corporate logos, and with the immense frequency of their layout scattered in thousands throughout the country, they have become unavoidable icons in the Chinese urban landscape. Open 24 hours a day, these franchised stores provide consumers with all imaginable basic products needed. Shelves filled with an eclectic mix of well-known international goods – such as soft drinks, cigarettes and dairy – inter-mingle with Chinese pickles, dried fruits, toiletry, newspapers, and rice-wine.

    Upon entering Xu Zhen’s installation, however, one immediately senses a difference. This store is filled with packages and wrappings containing, literally, nothing! Everything is empty, just shells. The false appearance of the shop, or of the ghostly merchandise as such, indicate that there is much more at stake than the obvious critique of exchange value. It is an artwork that is paradoxically defined by emptiness and lack of content, its most distinguished characteristic being hollowness. The ambiguous status of the supermarket, which has been stripped of all its defining qualities, seems to indicate that consumption, whether of food or images, is essential, but it also destroys.

  • Art 38 Basel, Art Unlimited , Xu Zhen 18 Days

    Art Fairs, Switzerland

  • An Animal , Xu Zhen’s Solo Exhibition

    2577 Longhua Road Creative Garden, Shanghai, Xuhui district

  • “8848-1.86”

    ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai, China

    In August 2005, Xu Zhen together with his team climbed the 8848.13 meters high Everest. They succeed in cutting the hill top and take it down from the mountain. We just display here some materials and goods related to his operation, including the hill top we cut, and document about the cutting process.
    Xu Zhen, male, born in 1977, in China
    Shen Jiujiu, male, born in 1978, in China
    Yu Wei, male, born in 1977, in China
    Jin Feng,  male, born in 1977, in China

    Xu Zhen “8848 – 1.86”  installation, video, 2005. Aside from a 1.86 meter tall peak from Mt. Everest, the video documentary of Xu Zhen’s team sawing off the peak, will be shown, along with photographic works, textual and archival materials, as well as the mountain climbing tools and the tools for sawing mountains.

    Xu Zhen, born in 1977, graduated from the Shanghai School of Arts and Crafts in 1996. In the last few year he has developed to one of the main creative forces in China. His works are clear cut smart, they hurt, surprise and liberate. Xu Zhen has shown in many exhibitions in China and overseas including twice at the Venice Biennale (in 2001, and in the Chinese Pavilion 2005), Shanghai Biennale, Guangzhou Triennale etc.

    “8848 is the publicly recognized height of the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest. Artist Xu Zhen has sawed off 1.86 meters (his height) from the peak of Mt. Everest, and transported the piece to participate in this exhibition. Audiences may not believe that this is real, which is similar to how people rarely question whether the height of Everest truly is 8848 meters. This relationship between belief and doubt has to deal with questions of standard, height, reality, and borders…. The work points to the ridiculousness of people’s belief in “facts” and “universal truths”. The work “ridicules” humankind’s quest for “height” to overturn and disrupt the preconceived social and historical values.

    We are unable to determine the relationship between Xu Zhen and his team’s arduous expedition to climb Everest, to cut off 1.86 meters for the sake of art, and the recent team who used the newest technical equipment to re-measure the altitude of Everest. Xu Zhen believes that it may be because news of his work leaked out to the media. ..This work is a “spoiler of others”, it satirizes the blind and imaginary pursuits of humankind towards some type of common “height”, including the current mess and chaos in world politics, economy, culture, and historical discourse that arises from people’s ambitions, power, and personal desires”.

  • 8848-1.86 , Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition

    Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

    Xu Zhen (b. Shanghai, 1977) is one of the most controversial artists of his generation. He was instrumental in establishing the independent art centre Bizart in Shanghai and was an inspiring force for many young artists.

    The exhibition shows the room-filling installation, 8848 – 1.86 which documents the artist’s brave venture to literally saw off the top of Mount Everest.

  • Careful, Don’t Get Dirty

    Galerie Waldburger, Berlin, Germany

    It doesn’t come as a surprise that Xu Zhen is regularly referred to as a trickster, an art chameleon and as a prankster. Although he is still quite young of age (born 1977), he already has an impressive artistic past and is regarded as highly influential for the younger art generation in China. Starting very early in the Chinese art scene of the mid-late nineties, he went through different periods and followed diverse interests in artistic creation, spanning tendencies from body art and performance to complex art installations, media art and collective art practices, just to name a few. Xu Zhen exhibited 2000 in the legendary Fuck Off-exhibition in Shanghai (curated by Feng Boyi and Ai Weiwei) and has so far been the youngest artist from China to participate at the Venice Biennial (2001 and 2005). In 2009, Xu Zhen ceased to work as an individual artist and created MadeIn Company, with which he follows a collective approach towards artistic production.

    Xu Zhen’s interests are diverse, and his reflective examination of his environment results in multi layered works. However, Xu Zhen likes to challenge the spectator and often evokes seemingly simple associations, whereas the subtle multi layered character of his works mostly needs further time and refinement to be discovered. It is as if he were playing with two levels in his works: A first and simple level, giving space for misunderstandings and wrong assumptions and a second level of closely knit associations and multi layered meanings which only reveal themselves after deeper understanding and scrutiny of his works. These two different levels, the seemingly simple one and the complex one, create an interdependent tension, unsettling the spectator and making him feel insecure in his judgement. It is this insecurity which finally forces the spectator to abandon uncritical judgements and to develop independent and reflective perspectives. Xu Zhen illustrates the subtleness of Chinese art and Chinese society and motivates us to dig further even if classical stereotypes present seemingly easy explanations.

    In ‘Careful, don’t get dirty’, Galerie Waldburger shows an inverted cleaning machine: In 2002, Xu Zhen created a machine which he used to clean the streets of Shanghai. Only, the machine itself was filled with saliva, in effect being a spitting machine, dispersing saliva on the streets of Shanghai. Spitting is an old custom in China, it is widely regarded to be healthy and natural. Mao, as an obviously historical example, is said to have been a strong adherent to this practice. Nevertheless, with the modernisation of Chinese life, spitting was banned and forbidden by law. For ‘Careful, don’t get dirty’, Xu Zhen collected saliva from his friends, filled it into the tank of the cleaning machine and ‘cleaned’ the streets with this saliva. From the outside, the machine looks like a very poor mock-up of a cleaning machine (cardboard, simple light etc.). However, the inside of the machine is filled with high-tech, namely several microchip boards and a infrared sensor system, enabling the machine to fully function as an autonomous cleaning/spitting-machine.

    ‘Careful, don’t get dirty’ was first time shown in Berlin in an art space in 2002 by Patrick Waldburger, then still being a student. For the opening of the new space of Galerie Waldburger in Brussels, ‘Careful, don’t get dirty’ is shown a second time.

    Xu Zhen was born 1977 in Shanghai, where he still lives. He has exhibited, either as Xu Zhen or under ‘MadeIn Company’, internationally at museums and biennales, such as, Venice Biennale (2001, 2005), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2004), ICP (2004), Mori Art Museum (2005), PS1 (2006), Tate Liverpool (2007), Ruhrtriennale (2012), Hayward Gallery (2012), Witte de With in Rotterdam (2012), Lyon Biennale (2013), etc. He had solo shows at S.M.A.K. in Ghent (2009) at the IKON Gallery in Birmingham (2009), at the Kunsthalle Bern (2011) and at the Ullens Center of Contemporary Art in Beijing (2014). Xu Zhen was further chosen as the commissioned artist for the Armory Show 2014 in New York. In 2009, Xu Zhen established ‘MadeIn Company’ a contemporary art creation corporate, focused on the production of creativity, and devoted to the research of contemporary culture’s infinite possibilities. In 2013, MadeIn Company launched the brand ‘Xu Zhen’.

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