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’s Biography
XU Zhen was born in 1977, lives and works in Shanghai. XU Zhen has exhibited extensively across the globe: a major mid-career survey exhibition “XU Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production” in Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing 2014; 13 Rooms, Kaldor Public Art Projects, Walsh Bay, Sydney, Australia (2013); XU Zhen: Forbidden Castle, Montanelli Museum, Prague (2012); XU Zhen Video Works, Galerie Waldburger, Belgium(2010); The Last Few Mosquitos, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K. (2009); Just did It!, James Cohan Gallery, New York, U.S.A. (2008); China Power Station: Part II, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway (2007); China Power Station: Part I, Battersea Power Station, London, U.K., (2006); On Mobility, De Appel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2006); China Contemporary - Art, Architecture and Visual Culture, Museum Boijmanns van Beuningen Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2006); The Thirteen–Chinese Video Now, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, U.S.A. (2006); XU Zhen: 8848 - 1.86, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai (2006); China Now, Museum of Modern Art, New York, U.S.A (2004);The 49th Venice Biennale, Venice Italy(2001).