press release

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.

Xu's 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' (the term refers to the commonly found label 'made in China'), 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.

A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with texts by Christopher Moore, Petra Pölzl, Philip Tinari, and an interview with Xu Zhen conducted by Katrin Bucher Trantow. Preface by curators, Peter Pakesch and Katrin Bucher Trantow.