“Movement Field,” Xu Zhen – Produced by MadeIn Company.
Long March Space (4 Jiuxianqiao Road Chaoyang District, Beijing) 27 April – 23 June, 2013
As soon as one enters the gallery, one is confronted by a “garden” composed of an undulating artificial wilderness where footpaths made of white stones wend their way through grassy knolls. Small clusters of vegetation dot the landscape. The set-up looks random, but is actually based on the intersection of various protests and parades happening around the world. The most intrusive objects in the room are the various graphical depictions interspersed in the grass — two-dimensional images are printed on rigid boards, cut out, and placed upright on the lawn. Images include serrated kitchen knives, two pieces of ginseng in an “embrace,” a cluster of raging flames, a bizarre statue of Buddha sitting cross-legged on a gas stove instead of a lotus, a boulder covered in playing cards sticking haphazardly out of it (this piece originates from his other work “If Truth Hurts, It’s the Truth’s Fault”). These cartoonish two-dimensional “sculptures” form a sharp contrast with the relatively naturalistic landscape surrounding them, clearly intending to emphasize the sense of landscape throughout the entirety of the piece while also extending the sense of the ridiculous which is synonymous with the works of “Xu Zhen – MadeIn Company.” Although these images do not seem related to each other, they subtly hint at the themes of violence, religion, tradition, and deconstruction, while the pop atmosphere and artificiality of the show bring to mind a quote from a certain well-known movie: “artists use lies to tell the truth, while politicians use them to cover the truth up.”