Xu Zhen 徐震, ‘Super Absorbent’, 2006, DSL Collection

As a social commentary on the rapid modernisation of China and the resulting loss of traditional values, this series of photographic works document the underworld of Shanghai’s nightlife with blurred, almost faded images of Karaoke bars and nightlife in general. Each of the pictures is constructed of texts from virtual conversations taken from the Internet, and they are sometimes incredibly explicit in their pornographic content.

About Xu Zhen 徐震

Installation, performance, and video artist Xu Zhen combines humor and irony in his works, offering critique of political and art-world systems of human exploitation. Xu’s works, made both individually and (since 2009) through his collective practice MadeIn Company, have been frequently censored due their violent or erotic themes. His 2008 installation The Starving of Sudan featured a live African toddler and a mechanical vulture, installed in a gallery space that had been converted to look like a desolate rural African landscape. Xu is hyper-aware of the contemporary art market and often critiques its norms and structure; although associated with the politically provocative artist Ai Weiwei, Xu attributes a lighter agenda to his work. His piece 8848-1.86 (2005) includes a fictional video documentation of Xu climbing to, and subsequently removing, 1.86 meters of Mt. Everest’s peak. The supposed snowy peak was showcased in a refrigerated vitrine—sincere confusion and sensation ensued, as many believed the work to be literal.

Chinese, b. 1977, Shanghai, China, based in Shanghai, China