Artists

MadeIn Company

Established by artist Xu Zhen in 2009.

MadeIn Company was established in 2009 by artist Xu Zhen as an ironic exploration about the art market and the concept of the artistic genius. At the same time as Xu founded MadeIn Company he stopped producing works that were credited to himself personally as an artist, and in 2013 he launched the brand “Xu Zhen”.

The title of the company plays on the well-known label “Made in China” as well as on the Chinese concept of mei ding, which means “an endless process”. In presenting artwork carried out by a company, Xu is both clarifying and satirising the extent to which commercialisation has become a factor in Chinese society and the Chinese artistic community. Xu views MadeIn Company both as a creative catalyst in its role as an exhibition venue (he established a physical gallery in 2014) and as a network for the exchange of ideas.

On several occasions MadeIn Company has addressed the craving of the art market for new and “exotic” art scenes, for instance by staging a group exhibition with artists from the Middle East presenting works that proved to be made in China. Exposing prejudices related to ethnicity is also a theme in the work Play-1. The sculpture shows a woman with African features tied up with ropes in the Japanese bondage technique of kinbaku. For a Western audience, this work might evoke unpleasant associations to the slave trade and postcolonial feelings of guilt. An Asian audience might recognize the Japanese bondage technique and react to its unusual combination with an African woman wearing traditional clothing. For an audience interested in art, the sculpture’s kinbaku bondage is reminiscent of the work of the Japanese photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. MadeIn Company thus reveals how art is always influenced by the gaze of its audience and the socio-political situation in which art is produced or exhibited.

Photo: Xu Zhen (Produced by MadeIn Company)

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