XU ZHEN®: Three Taels of Cuteness, One Catty of Greatness


  • Opening hours

    10 : 00 – 18 : 00
    Tuesday – Saturday

  • Location:

    No. 1, -1F Sunken Garden, Lane 9, Qufu Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai

  • Artist:

MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition “Three Taels of Cuteness, One Catty of Greatness” on November 10th, 2021. This is the third solo exhibition of XU ZHEN® at MadeIn Gallery after “Hello” in 2019, which will present a large-scale contemporary artwork Base, and a new painting series “Pas- sion”. The exhibition continues XU ZHEN®’s focus on new technologies, the excess of knowledge and infor- mation, the evolution of human intellect, as well as his ceaseless exploration of the diversity of creative media, with a high degree of sensitivity and new expansion of visual creation in the context of the post-globalization era.

Base is the latest work created for this exhibition. The audience will enter a scene similar to a mobile phone store, where each mobile phone is playing a variety of contents generated in the course of use. While we use mobile phones to capture and process information every day, algorithms and big data continue to generate marketing content and manipulate our behavioral expectations. Increasingly dense and fast information im- proves our intelligence, but at the same time it does not leave time for individuals to contemplate. On the screen of mobile phone, on the fingers that are hitting keyboard, information economy and technological cap- italism occupy more and more the time of life. Perception, sensibility and desire are installed on devices as apps on our mobile phones, which we are constantly tapping on and upgrading.

The entire work takes the life in each device as a fact, an event and new information, and continues to use and announce it. Today, our love, curiosity and beliefs, our bodies, actions and emotions have all become data. How we could be better processed as data, will be the reality of daily life.

“Passion”, a series of paintings with abstract expressionist style on the surface, is not only a derivative of smart social media, but also a representation of daily life on the Internet. They are based on a great invention – screen capture on mobile phone. All pictures are translated from screenshots of WeChat conversation – that is, all kinds of cropped and smeared conversation screenshots that we constantly forward across different WeChat groups every day. Artists retain the “cropping” structure when painting, some can see the “avatar”, while others don’t. The free writing with abstract expressionistic style, not only highlights the traces of “smear- ing” when forwarding, but also pours all kinds of emotions which are often seen in chatroom into the picture vividly, such as roasting, prattling, arguing, raging, abreaction and the sense of powerlessness. At this time, painting is not so much a fierce reaction to a mental state, but as a release and solution to self-depression, anxiety and excitement. The artist confronts and dispels this unavoidable absurd situation in a more direct way. The exhibition site endows these extra-large scale “mobile phone screenshots” with a unique sense of sacred- ness – in recent years, screenshots have indeed played an important evidential role in some noted incidents, they are like an invisible spiritual cage, locking everyone’s mind in it with all kinds of information that is hard to distinguish between genuine and false. This series retains the order of painting, but at the same time, it also completely destroys – or completely ignores – the order of painting.

The exhibition is jointly presented by MadeIn Gallery and ShanghART.