MADEIN COMPANY (China): "Physique Of Consciousness" · 09.04. - 19.06.2011
Under the moniker MadeIn, Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen employs a pool of young artists to conceive and execute vast quantities of work in a range of media. Since the group’s inception in 2009, MadeIn’s paintings, sculptures and installations have frequently been shown in both solo presentations and group exhibitions. Works appropriate visual and conceptual references in their formal aesthetic features. MadeIn is organized as a creative company to produce independent and commissioned artworks and exhibitions. Xu Zhen has chosen to engage with this conventional operational model to problematize cooperative cosplay relationships within the field of contemporary visual culture and to urgently examine the continual materialization of visual spectacles in society today.
Xu Zhen himself is one of the most renowned conceptual artists to have emerged from China since the 1990s, but now he is playing down his personal identity. For an exhibition in 2009 called Seeing One’s Own Eyes, MadeIn impersonated a fictional group of Middle Eastern artists. The work however was all made in China for a kind of exhibition in disguise – ‘an exhibition of an exhibition’. Through a range of media including sculpture, video and installation, clichéd images of the Middle East such as oil, religious conflict and war raise issues of cultural perception. Consistently seeking to push the boundaries of social and cultural assumptions and their relations to factual realities, MadeIn deploys a variety of mediums situated for the task at hand including, video, photography, installation, painting, collage and performance. Daring and controversial, the works challenge the viewer to validate the truth.
MadeIn is a new artists’ collective founded by Chinese artist Xu Zhen in Shanghai in 2009. Derived from ‘Made In’, two words that refer to manufacturing (with country of origin not specified), the name also phonetically translates into Chinese for ‘without a roof’ (‘méi ding’), thereby suggesting openness to the collective’s work. Drawing on Xu Zhen’s vast experience over the past decade, as artist, but also as arts organizer, including directing an artist run space, the company provides a comprehensive approach towards art creation, blurring the lines between exhibition, production and curating, as well as authorship.
Through its play with scale, substance, and space, and the obsession with notions of authenticity, sincerity and truth, MadeIn continues to expand its projects, engaging further with the process of art production, consumption and display.
Spread is a new project by MadeIn including several works consisting of various materials and fabrics, laid out onto canvas, utilizing the motif of contemporary satirical cartoons and comics, providing incisive and witty commentary about larger political and social events. By appropriating and borrowing messages and rhetorical devices of mass media, public service announcements, and news reports these works prompt a critical approach to information. The works claim to use the “media as a medium... to create media.”