Xu Zhen

Xu Zhen

UCCA, Beijing

Xu Zhen, Eternity, 2013. Installation, 3.5 x 13 x 1.5 m. Produced by MadeIn Company.

February 4, 2014

Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production
19 January–20 April 2014

Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
798 Art District, No. 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu

T +86 10 5780 0200
visitor [​at​] ucca.org.cn 


UCCA is proud to announce Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production, a major mid-career survey of the mercurial Chinese artist. An irreverent artist with a voracious appetite for global information and a unique ability to produce work across multiple platforms and media, Xu Zhen (b. 1977, Shanghai) is a key figure in the Shanghai art scene and a foundational figure for the generations of Chinese artists born since 1980. The exhibition is curated by UCCA Director Philip Tinari and UCCA Chief Curator Paula Tsai.

Xu Zhen’s practice incorporates a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, mechanical installation, video, photography, and performance, often within a single piece. Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production comprises a similarly diverse set of works, with over 50 installation pieces, 10 videos, 40 painting and collage works, and several performances, filling UCCA’s signature Great Hall. The exhibition spans Xu Zhen’s early works made in his own name beginning in 1997, works made under the moniker MadeIn Company between 2009 and 2013, as well as significant new pieces produced specially for this exhibition under MadeIn Company’s Xu Zhen brand.

The title Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production acknowledges the longstanding relationship between the artist’s individual practice and his sprawling involvement with the Shanghai contemporary art scene. In 2009, Xu Zhen dissolved his art practice into the “contemporary art creation company” MadeIn Company. Acting as the group’s CEO, Xu Zhen continues to undertake creative projects, artworks, and exhibitions under this revised mantle. MadeIn encapsulates Xu Zhen’s unique conflation of art practice, curatorial work, and art promotion that has defined his multifarious career in the Shanghai art scene. The artist’s withdrawal from his own name marks a rejection of the persona-driven contemporary art world while acknowledging that, since he first began working with art in 1997, Xu Zhen’s artwork has always been a collaborative effort.

Says Tinari, “Since the early 2000s, Xu Zhen, with his unique combination of skepticism and action, contemplation and involvement, has produced some of the most compelling and self-knowing art contemporary China has ever seen. We look forward to presenting his considerable output to audiences who might not yet be familiar with the arc of his career.”

Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production includes a number of Xu Zhen’s landmark works. His 1998 video Shouting, in which the artist lets out pained shouts on crowded city streets, only to capture the sequential shock and dismissal of hundreds of passers-by, made him the youngest Chinese artist to date to be included in the Venice Biennale. His 2007 installation ShanghART Supermarket, which takes the shape of a Shanghai convenience store fully stocked with packaging that has been emptied of content, sold for the price of the putative objects, was widely debated when it debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach at the height of the last art-market bubble. In Physique of Consciousness Museum, Xu Zhen uses various social, religious, and political criteria to array archaeological and ethnographic artifacts—actually just mounted photographs of the same—without respect to place or time of origin.

Apart from his artworks, Xu Zhen works as a curator, critic, entrepreneur, and broker. In 1998, Xu co-founded the independent, not-for-profit BizArt Art Centre, the first organization of its kind in Shanghai. The creative lab funded experimental exhibitions of young Shanghai artists through its graphic design, art advertising, and other commercial services. In 2006, Xu helped initiate the online contemporary art forum Art-Ba-Ba (www.art-ba-ba.com), which remains one of China’s leading web platforms for discussion and criticism of contemporary art. In 2009, Xu dissolved his art practice into the “contemporary art creation company” MadeIn Company. In 2013, MadeIn Company launched the brand Xu Zhen.

UCCA 2014 exhibition schedule

Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production
19 January–20 April

Ji Dachun: Without a Home
19 January–11 May

Art Post-Internet
1 March–11 May

Lee Mingwei: Sonic Blossoms
26 April–20 May

Hans van Dijk: 5,000 Names
24 May–10 August

Pawel Althamer
24 May–29 August

Broached Commissions
24 May–29 August

Los Angeles
13 September–9 November

Editorial contacts: 
Ling Chen, UCCA: ling.chen [​at​] ucca.org.cn
Cheng Xia, UCCA: cheng.xia [​at​] ucca.org.cn
Phoebe Moore, Sutton PR Asia: phoebe [​at​] suttonprasia.com


Xu Zhen at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
RSVP for Xu Zhen
UCCA, Beijing
February 4, 2014

Thank you for your RSVP.

UCCA, Beijing will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.