Known in Chinese art circles as a prankster and provocateur once compared to the likes of Yves Klein, Shanghai-born artist Xu Zhen grew up under the impact of China’s booming economy and rapid commercial development, and so it was no surprise that his work’s derisory focus on the effects of consumerism have put a fair few noses out of joint. However, the increasingly audacious UCCA has now unveiled a major mid-career survey of Zhen’s early works in the 1990s, art produced under his 2009 MadeIn Company concept (said to serve as a rejection of persona-driven art), and a number of major new pieces.
The exhibition rosta not only showcases Zhen’s ability to produce art across multiple platforms (with over 50 installation pieces, 10 videos, and 40 painting and collage works), but also includes a number of his landmark works. The video Shouting (1998), in which he lets out anguished cries on a busy street in order to capture the shock or outright dismissal of passers-by, made him the youngest Chinese artist to be included in the Venice Biennale; while Shanghart Supermarket (2007), a convenience store fully stocked with packaging that has been emptied of its content, was an installation piece eagerly received at Art Basel Miami Beach. Zhen’s work might not be your conceptual cup of tea, but it’s undeniably arresting art!
On view until April 20th.