ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai
50 Moganshan Rd. Bldg 16
artist / participant
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
The exhibition includes the top 1.86m of Mt. Everest, a video documentary of the team sawing off the peak, along with photographic works (22pcs), textual and archival materials, as well as the mountain climbing tools and 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. An exhibition at the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum in Holland is planed this year. 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, that the Long March - Chinatown is interested in examining. 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.
The artist produces a "mobile public fact" fiction to correspond to Chinatown's mobile "fact of space". From the cultural perspective, questioning of "Chinatown" has been revealed through the real face of "fact" that arises from various discourses. Also questioned is the "Chinatown" this effective public essence that uses different symbols to conduct nationalist egoistic symbolism and egoistic understanding. 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.
Aside from a 1.86 meter tall peak from Mt. Everest, the video documentary of his 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.
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