Born in 1977, lives and works in Shanghai.
Xu Zhen has been considered as an iconic figure in Chinese contemporary art. His practice covers various media such as photography, installations, video, painting and performance. Xu Zhen’s works express not only the tendency of performativity but also contain a strong conceptual meaning and narrative in multiple themes and events. Xu Zhen usually directly uses the “body” - his body or the body of society - as the symbolic material. With an ironic way that tends to challenge the authority, the work reflects the individual experience of the artist and the social-political situation in China.
Aside from being an artist, Xu Zhen is also a curator and the founder of MadeIn Company. As the co-organizer, Xu Zhen established Bizart Art Center in 1998, the first independent non-profit organization in Shanghai. In 2006, Xu co-curated Art-Ba-Ba with other artists, a leading online forum for discussion and critique of contemporary art in China. In 2009, Xu Zhen established “MadeIn Company”, a contemporary art creation corporate, focused on the production of creativity, and devoted to the research of contemporary culture’s infinite possibilities. In 2013, MadeIn Company launched XU ZHEN®, operating the individual’s work as a company brand, commit to art creation and cutting-edge culture development. In those many roles of Xu Zhen, the most important role is the artist, Xu Zhen presents the ability of association and develops current definitions.
In 2004, Xu Zhen won the prize for “Best Artist” at the China Contemporary Art Award. In 2001, Xu Zhen became (and remain) the youngest Chinese artist to participate in 49th Venice Biennial. Xu Zhen’s work have present in international museums and Biennial, including Museum of Modern Art, New York, U.S.A. (2004); ICP and the Asia Society, New York, U.S.A. (2004); Yokohama International Triennial of Contemporary Art, Yokohama, Japan (2005); Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2005); 51st International Art Exhibition Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy (2005); PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, U.S.A. (2006); Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, U.K. (2007); Hayward Gallery, London, U.K. (2012); The Armory Show, New York, U.S.A. (2014); Long Museum, Shanghai (2015); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, U.S.A. (2017); 14th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, (2019) etc. Xu Zhen’s work are collected by many private and public collections, including Tate, M+, Astrup Fearnley Museum, Gift of the Haudenschild Collection in Hammer Museum, The UBS Art Collection, Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art, DSL Collection, Guy & Myriam Ullens Foundation etc.
A brand launched by MadeIn Company in 2013, operating the Xu Zhen’s work as a company brand. For more information, please click XU ZHEN®’s homepage: https://www.shanghartgallery.com/galleryarchive/artist.htm?artistId=181