September 21st – November 4th 2017
Sadie Coles HQ, The Shop, 62 Kingly Street, London
Sadie Coles HQ and Victor Wang present Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen's XUZHEN Supermarket (2007/2017) for the first time in the United Kingdom. The project runs in tandem with Zhongguo 2185, an exhibition of ten artists from China.
Xu Zhen is known for his wry and provocative appropriations of the tropes of advertising, distribution, and consumerism. This project, which has previously been presented in Shanghai, Singapore, New York and Miami, takes the form of a functioning supermarket. Visitors to the store, located in the ground-floor 'Shop' space at Sadie Coles HQ, are invited to buy from continually-restocked rows of packaged goods from China – all of them completely authentic, and all completely empty.
Playing out the artist's interest in capitalist products and processes, XUZHEN Supermarket occupies an unlikely space between installation art and commercial food production. Inviting viewers to invest in empty shells – containers bereft of substance or use value – the venture offers a critique of the often-destructive nature of global capitalism – its relentless cycles of supply and demand, brute logistics and mass consumption, and the aesthetic guises it assumes through branding and packaging. There is also a satirical metaphor, in the hollow vessels, for the international art market and its arbitrary ascriptions of value.
Xu Zhen (b. 1977, Shanghai) is one of China’s leading contemporary artists. His practice spans a variety of media including installation, video, painting and performance. In 2004, Xu w on the prize for 'Best Artist' at the China Contemporary Art Award.