Xu Zhen

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Xu Zhen (Chinese 徐震)
EducationShanghai Arts & Crafts Institute
Eternity-Poseidon by Xu Zhen in De Haan, Belgium

Xu Zhen (Chinese 徐震), born in 1977, is a multimedia artist living and working in Shanghai, China.[1]


Xu Zhen is a leading figure among the young generation of Chinese artists. His extensive body of work, which includes photography, installation art and video, entails theatrical humor and social critique. His projects are informed by performance and conceptual art. Xu’s work focuses on human sensitivity and dramatizes the humdrum of urban living.[2]

Xu Zhen’s earlier representative individual works include the video Rainbow (1998), where a man’s back is beaten until it burns red, yet the hand doing the beating is abstracted.[3] This work made him the youngest Chinese artist to have participated in the main thematic exhibition of the Venice Biennale.[4] 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.[5] The installation ShanghART Supermarket (2007) 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.[6]

His recent pieces survey ancient and new art while fusing Chinese and Western cultures into monumental installations or into new art forms. European Thousand-Hand Classical Sculpture (2014) assembles 19 different Western classical sculptures of various forms; borrowing from the shape of the Thousand-Hand Guanyin (Bodhisattva) in Buddhist iconography.[7] Physique of Consciousness (2011) is a video which comprises movements derived from dance, gymnastics, spiritual and cultural rituals.[8]


Xu Zhen’s curatorial experiments and engagement with an alternative art space BizArt (closed in 2010) complement and extend practice.[9] Aside from being an artist, Xu Zhen organizes various art activities and co-curates with other artists. Major exhibitions in Shanghai include Art For Sale, 1999; Fan Mingzhen & Fan Mingzhu, 2002; Dial 62761232-Courier Exhibition, 2004; 38 Solo Exhibitions, 2006; The Real Thing: Contemporary from Art China, Tate Liverpool, 2007; Bourgeoisified Proletariat, 2009; and My Communism - Poster Exhibition, 2011. He is also one of the initiators of the contemporary art forum on internet Art-Ba-Ba in 2006.

Museum and Biennale Exhibition[edit]

Xu Zhen has exhibited internationally at museums and biennales, such as, Venice Biennale (2001, 2005), Lyon Biennial (2013), Asia Pacific Triennial (2012), Guangzhou Triennial (2012), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2004), ICP (2004), Mori Art Museum (2005), PS1 (2006), Tate Liverpool (2007)[10] etc. Recent exhibitions include Corporate-Xu Zhen (Produced by MadeIn Company), Kunsthaus Graz (Graz, Austria, 2015), Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition, Long Museum (Shanghai, China, 2015), Xu Zhen-Produced by MadeIn Company, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing, China, 2014), 14 Rooms, Fondation Beyeler (Basel, Switzerland, 2014), Art of Change (Hayward Gallery, London, 2012), 11 Rooms (Manchester International Festival, Manchester City Galleries, 2011), 15 Rooms, Long Museum (Shanghai, China, 2015), Corporate, Graz Kunsthaus, (Graz, Austria, 2015), Bentu: Chinese Artists in a Time of Turbulence and Transformation, and Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris, France, 2016) [11] etc.

Xu Zhen won the prize for ‘Best Artist’ at the China Contemporary Art Award in 2004 and ‘Best Artist of the Year’ at the AAC Award in 2014.[citation needed]

His work has been collected by many institutions and private collections worldwide including the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Daimler Collection (Berlin, Germany), The White Rabbit Collection (Chippendale, Australia), the Rubell Famil Collection, (Miami, USA), the Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon (Lyon, France), the K11 (Shanghai) Collection, the DSL Collection, among others.

MadeIn Company[edit]

In 2009, Xu Zhen founded ‘MadeIn Company,’ a contemporary art creation corporate that plays off of the phrase "Made in China".[12] In 2013, MadeIn Company launched the brand “Xu Zhen” and led MadeIn to expand into curatorial production, research and publications.[13]

In 2014, MadeIn Company founded MadeIn Gallery, a gallery dedicated to the promotion of international artists with an accent on contemporary culture development and communication.[14] Located in M50 Shanghai contemporary art district, MadeIn Gallery aims to be a platform for creativity in China, giving access to the latest artworks of established artists as well as younger and lesser-known talents. MadeIn Gallery was featured in the China Focus Section of the Armory Show in New York in March 2014. On this occasion, detailed images of the series Under Heaven by Xu Zhen, commissioned artist of the Armory,[15] were featured in all the visual promotional materials.

Selected Solo Exhibitions[edit]

  • Corporate, Graz Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria[16]
  • In Light Of 25 Years - One of Us Is On the Wrong Side of History!, Witte de With, Rotterdam, The Netherlands[17]
  • Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition, Long Museum, Shanghai, China[18]
  • Xu Zhen-Produced by MadeIn Company: Blissful As Gods, ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai, China[19]
  • Careful Don’t Get Dirty, Patrick Waldburger Gallery, Brussels, Belgium[20]
  • Prey, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France[21]
  • Xu Zhen-Produced by MadeIn Company, ShanghART Singapore, Singapore[22]
  • Xu Zhen-A MadeIn Company Production, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China[23]
  • The Most Important Thing Is Not the Contract, OCT, Shanghai, China
  • Turbulent, Bund 18 Temporary Space, Shanghai China
  • Movement Field - Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition, produced by MadeIn Company, Long March Space, Beijing China
  • Offsite:MadeIn Company, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
  • Forbidden Castle, Muzeum Montanelli, Prague, Czech Republic[24]
  • MadeIn Company, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China
  • Sleeping Life Away, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, France[25]
  • The Last Few Mosquitos, WHERE? , Vancouver Canada
  • Action of Consciousness, ShanghART Gallery & H Space, Shanghai
  • Physique of Consciousness, Long March Space, Beijing
  • Physique of Consciousness, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland
  • Don’t Hang Your Faith on The Wall, Long March Space, Beijing
  • Seeing One's Own Eyes, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK
  • There are new species! What do you suppose they are called? , Fabien Fryns Fine Art, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
  • Spread-by MadeIn, ShanghART Beijing, Beijing, China
  • Spread—New Exhibition Produced by MadeIn, ShanghART at Huaihai Rd 796, Shanghai, China
  • MadeIn -- Seeing One's Own Eyes europalia.china, S.M.A.K., Gent, Belgium
  • Lonely Miracle: Middle East Contemporary Art Exhibition, James Cohan Gallery, New York, USA[26]
  • Seeing One's Own Eyes—Middle East Contemporary Art Exhibition-Space, ShanghART Gallery and ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai
  • The Last Few Mosquitos, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K.
  • In Just the Blink of an Eye, James Cohan Gallery with PERFORMA, New York[29]
  • Art '38 Basel, Art Unlimited-Xu Zhen 18 Days (at B3), Art Fair Switzerland
  • 8848 - 1.86, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai
  • 8848 - 1.86, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • An Animal, 2577 Longhua Road, Xuhui district, Shanghai
  • Careful, Don't Get Dirty, Galerie Waldburger, Berlin, Germany[30]
  • A Young Man, Bizart, Shanghai


  1. ^ Xu Zhen: Lonely Miracle: Middle East Contemporary Art Exhibition
  2. ^ http://www.distanz.de/en/books/new-publications/detail/backPID/new-publications/products/xu-zhen.html
  3. ^ exhibit-e.com. "Xu Zhen - Exhibitions - James Cohan Gallery". www.jamescohan.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  4. ^ "Xu Zhen Solo Exhibition". www.shanghartgallery.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  5. ^ "Xu Zhen. Shouting. 1998 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  6. ^ http://thelongmuseum.org/en/exhibition/overview/436dxA
  7. ^ http://thelongmuseum.org/en/exhibition/overview/436dxA
  8. ^ "Physique of Consciousness Museum (Exercise 9-Posture 18 & 19)-Creation-没顶公司". www.madeincompany.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  9. ^ "Risky Business | ARTnews". www.artnews.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  10. ^ Hickling, Alfred (28 March 2007). "Great leap forward". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  11. ^ http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/content/flvinternet/en/expositions/exposition-bentu.html
  12. ^ "Risky Business | ARTnews". www.artnews.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  13. ^ http://thelongmuseum.org/en/exhibition/overview/436dxA
  14. ^ "About Us-没顶公司". www.madeincompany.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  15. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/arts/design/at-the-heart-of-the-armory-show-a-chinese-provocateur.html?_r=0
  16. ^ http://www.museum-joanneum.at/en/kunsthaus-graz/exhibitions/exhibitions/events/event/27.09.2015-10.01.2016/corporate-1
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 18, 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ http://thelongmuseum.org/en/exhibition/overview/436dxA
  19. ^ "XU Zhen - Produced by MadeIn Company:"Blissful As Gods"". www.shanghartgallery.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  20. ^ "randian - XU ZHEN – CAREFUL, DON'T GET DIRTY". www.randian-online.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  21. ^ "Galerie Nathalie Obadia: Current Show". www.nathalieobadia.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  22. ^ "XU ZHEN - PRODUCED BY MADEIN COMPANY 徐震 - 没顶公司出品 - Biography". www.shanghartgallery.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  23. ^ "Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production - UCCA". UCCA. 2014-03-27. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 25, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Galerie Nathalie Obadia: Current Show". www.nathalieobadia.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  26. ^ exhibit-e.com. "Xu Zhen - Exhibitions - James Cohan Gallery". www.jamescohan.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  27. ^ "Xu Zhen: Impossible is Nothing – Long March Space". www.longmarchspace.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  28. ^ exhibit-e.com. "Xu Zhen, Folkert de Jong, and Martha Colburn - Exhibitions - James Cohan Gallery". www.jamescohan.com. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  29. ^ http://ynes.org, CODING - CBH -. "PERFORMA07". 07.performa-arts.org. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
  30. ^ "randian - XU ZHEN – CAREFUL, DON'T GET DIRTY". www.randian-online.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.

External links[edit]