In this exhibition, UniversalStudios-beijing shows five artists from China and Europe. Zheng Guogu, winner of Chinese Contemporary Art Award 2006, shows photography, cloth and needlepoint works. Charlotte SCHLEIFFERT shows paper works. Erik van LIESHOUT’s video installation Fantasy Me is installed, and Xu Zhen shows his video and photography work Temporary Expansion. Last but not least: Xu Tan shows the first part of his new video work 100 key words. From different perspectives, all of these works express the artists’ intention to focus on contemporary aspects of social reality. Without a preoccupied critical attitude or judgment, without obvious historical, ethical and political correctness, they ‘take things as they come.’ As in a shopping mall, the world and its attributes are taken at face value. Commercial brands, daily objects, but also people’s daily speech, cultural differences and the (im)possibility of translating them. It is the artist who transforms these forms of reality into art by her or his imaginative impetus.
Reflection of daily living conditions is also central to Xu Zhen’s recent work Temporary Expansion. In this work, consisting of a video and seven series photography, the artist documents his actions, which entail the occupation other people’s private spaces. For this work, the artist made a rental contract to use parts of their apartments for a set period of time. In one case he asked the people to wash his clothes and hang them to dry in the front garden of their middle-class home; in another he put a skeleton in the window, or hung a traffic light in one of the rooms. From the artistic point of view this project shows the unlimited possibility of expanding ‘exhibition’ space into the direct, private spaces of people. From a more socio-political perspective, it pinpoints the conflicted and alienating power relations of private and collective property and the relevance of money in this context. It also tiptoes around the typical Chinese legal problems of the dwelling process, in so far as according to PRC law, individuals from outside can claim only the temporary right of residence by owning or renting property.