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Introduction of Play

Author: Ivy Liu Translator: Ivy Liu Proofread by Andrea Keller and Sachiel Yuu May,2012

Play is a series of silica gel made life-size sculptures by MadeIn Company. The sculptures, similar to African characters, are hanging from the ceiling in a Japanese style rope bondage or kinbaku with their flamboyant headdresses. It creates a distant atmosphere with tension and a vague plot. The movements and shapes of these sculptures make viewers inevitably associate with the famous Japanese sadistic culture and connect to the history where colonialism enslaved the black race. In these works, the sadistic style of the movements and positions might be the origin of the work’s name, but the similarity to images of the black race is also a highly recognizable symbol. Therefore, the “bandage” of the figures has even more a double meaning: From a Western prospective, these works provide a feeling more disturbing than amusing. But for a local Chinese audience, who does not suffer from post-colonial slave-trade guilt, this play on cultural motifs is simply an association of fetishistic Asian sexual practice with fetishistic African cultural practice.

However, MadeIn Company points out that these characters who play sexual games are not actual black people, and that the source comes from images of Asian women, such as appearing in Nobuyoshi Araki’s photography works about sexual abuse. Moreover, these figures which look like being bandaged and abused are not like people would expect them to be, but play and enjoy themselves in this game. However, almost everyone would take some “culture inertia” to watch, which is the “prejudice” frequently emphasized by MadeIn Company. It exploits the impact on culture and morality in order to make viewers associate with the direct “offence” of racism. On the same time, MadeIn Company also uses the work’s title to proclaim that it is only a game. Actually, it is an overt disturbance to cultural and moral taboos and creates a discordance on the level of application and understanding, making viewers rethink and retreat the real “appearances” of these works with the help of an artistic joke.

Related Artists:
XU ZHEN® 徐震®

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