Leading artist Xu Zhen: 19 Western sculptures for stunning installation

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015 - 1
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Who is Xu Zhen?

Xu Zhen is a leader within the domain of contemporary Chinese art and is said to be one of the most sought-after international contemporary artists. Xu Zhen uses inspiration from both Chinese and Western cultures while combining the embodiment of both. He uses sociocultural frameworks as an inspiration for his pieces as an attempt to target and what many would argue decrease ignorance surrounding “foreign” cultures. Xu Zhen occupies an artistic practice that uses numerous mediums, including painting, sculpture, installation, video, photography and performance.

‘European Thousand-Hand Classical Sculpture’ installation

His creation European Thousand-Hand Classical Sculpture combines 19 distinctive Western classical sculptures of numerous forms; deriving from the shape of the Thousand-Hand Guanyin, also known as Bodhisattva1, in Buddhist iconography. Thus Xu Zhen’s work deals with a sense of form and spirituality.

The meaning of the work

This piece combines the serene Buddhist statues of the East together with the exquisite western style of Greek statues2, mediating spans of space and time referencing a very long time of scale of art history. Xu Zhen’s extensive body of work evokes instances of complexity. Through his artwork, he demonstrates his personal curiosity about the differences between cultures and the alienation between them, while also thinking of misconceptions can be a place that introduces awareness and understanding. He uses his artwork to increase the understanding between different cultures. This artwork is a place of navigation, a place of mediation, a place of understanding.

Conclusion

Through creating discussions and a place in which these discussions can be instigated, Xu Zhen tries to bring cultural awareness and relativism to the world of art in addition to the social sphere. By creating a stimulating site for these discussions in addition to a safe place to house them (such as an exhibit) misconceptions can be corrected and a new level of cultural understanding is formed.

Exhibition photos

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015
Photo: John Meckley/flickr.com

Xu Zhen, European Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, Long Museum, Shanghai, 2015
Xu ZhenEuropean Thousand-Arms Classical Sculpture, 2014, glass fiber reinforced concrete, marble grains, marble, metal, 304 x 1470 x 473 cm, Produced by MadeIn Company, at Long Museum, Shanghai, China, 2015

Xu Zhen - The Soldier of Marathon Announcing Victory A Wounded Galatian 2014 Installation 157x96x250cm 290x290 cm
Xu Zhen – The Soldier of Marathon Announcing Victory, A Wounded Galatian, 2014, Concrete with fibreglass, marble powder, marble, metal, 157 x 96 x 250 cm

All images by Thomas Fuesser/perrotin.com & Xu Zhen/madeingallery.com unless otherwise noted.

Video: Xu Zhen interview – ‘Artists Change the Way People Think’

5min 37sec

Related works

Related readings

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhisattva
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_sculpture
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