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MadeIn Park:Creating an Island of Chinese Art

李静茹 Jelly Lee 2019-02-18 13:08


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MadeIn Park is another new contemporary art project launched by MadeIn company after MadeIn Gallery, XU ZHEN® and XU ZHEN® Store. Compared with Banksy’s Dismaland Bemusement Park, MadeIn Park is a much humbler site. With an area of 100,000 square metres, MadeIn Park was co-established by MadeIn company and Chongming Datong Art Museum. Inside the park, small ponds separate the space into a charming garden, with large spaces designed for artists to liberate their widest fantasies. Besides, a 1.5-hour ride from downtown Shanghai satisfies both parties – the urbanites who eager to be away from the madding crowd, and the artists in residence who pursue an insouciant environment. 


Aiming to create an art ecosystem on Chongming Island and promote the avant-garde art styles in the city when enjoying natural surroundings, MadeIn Park features Permanent Exhibition of the Sculptures, which includes large art pieces like Eternity series by Xu Zhen, European Thousand Arms Classical Sculptures, Actually, I am also Dim, Focus (NIKON D90) and Turbulent. Meanwhile, Special Exhibition of the Project Space and Literature Exhibition are also on the show. 


Retrospection and Summing-Up 


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Shanghai Contemporary Art Archival Project conducts a close investigation of contemporary art development in Shanghai after 1998, and tries to review the history of Shanghai and Chinese art development. The first session of the project is an “Artist Curated Exhibition”. Since the late 1990s, a group of artists in Shanghai have regularly curated and organised large-scale exhibitions and art activities. At that time when professional contemporary art institutions and galleries were rare, these artists realised it was a matter of urgency to create opportunities and platforms to organise various sorts of art activities. Although it was rapidly developing, such initiatives became a tradition, with artists curating an exhibition together each year or biennially. 


The second part of the project showcases documents of BizArt Art Centre, a non-profit contemporary art organisation, which was established by Davide Quadrio, Huang Yuanqing and Wei Kailin in 1998, Shanghai. The organisation held a series of art activities, including slam poetry, drama, lectures, performances, underground music concerts, and artist residencies, becoming one of the most prominent platforms for many contemporary Chinese artists. 


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Moreover, the project includes documents of Art-Ba-Ba, an art community established in 2006. This section reviews a free, lively Internet forum focusing on art activities in China and abroad. Art- Ba-Ba presents numerous art information, exhibition reviews, event curation and holding open debates on contemporary art. The most distinctive feature is that Art-Ba-Ba advocates anonymous and open discussions, and anyone can express their opinions in the forum. It produced direct, efficient and intensive communication, expanded the scope of artistic information, changed the atmosphere of comment, and revolutionised the form of artistic communication. In 2008 and 2009, numerous comments and dialogues were regularly selected together with translated articles by Western critics or international exhibition reviews to be printed in leaflets named “Jingye” and “Jihe”. These publications were distributed for free to artists and art organisations. As a free, open platform, Art-Ba-Ba has been supported by individuals and organizations such as Artspy and Atiati (founded by Geng Jianyi), and is now supported by MadeIn Company. 


Looking Ahead


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 Curated by Chen Jiaying, MadeIn Park’s special exhibition session displays artworks from three young artists. Titled as Hunting Cycle, the exhibition reflects the subtle relationship between consumers and creators – the prey becomes industrial output, traditional culture, imagination and even artists themselves. The process by which the hunter captures the prey is also controlled by the imaginary “sacrifice”. The interrelationship may stem from the reflexivity of technology and tools. In a word, the exhibition presents a complex hunting relationship through images, texts, installations and surroundings. 


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Among the exhibitions, Information Wall by Chen Leng is a gigantic billboard, and a metaphor of the information age. Standing outdoors, the image presents a tire that can’t stop rolling toward the viewer. In the exhibition, Information Wall perfectly symbolises the relationship within the “hunting cycle”: the tire of the era is crushing the viewers, yet consumers are fascinated by the industrial landscape. Artist Li Hanwei, on the other hand, fabricates a series of brands and companies and builds a world view which is “centred on shaping of aesthetic experience with Chinese characteristics”, to show the intersection of today’s cultural forms and identities. Finally, artist Lu Pingyuan is inspired by his experience in Chongming and created Crystal Skulls. In the process of perceiving the outside world, the artist is also captured by the spirit of nature and eventually embodies them in the park. Through the multi-dimensional interpretation of contemporary living condition, Lu succeeded in constructing a alternative world in the special environment provided by MadeIn Park.



ABOUT XU ZHEN AND MADEIN COMPANY 


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Xu Zhen was born in 1977, and lives and works in Shanghai. He was awarded “Best Artist” at China Contemporary Art Award (CCAA) in 2004 and before that he participated in the 49th Venice Biennale (2001) as a young Chinese artist. His practice covers various media such as installations, video, painting and performance, etc. He has exhibited internationally. Besides an artist, Xu is also a curator and the founder of MadeIn Company. In 2013 MadeIn Company launched XU ZHEN® which is committed to art creation and cutting-edge culture development. In 2014, MadeIn Company established MadeIn Gallery and in November 2016 launched the first “Xu Zhen Store” in Shanghai. Established in 2009, MadeIn Company is a contemporary art creation company, focused on the production of creativity and devoted to the research of contemporary culture’s infinite possibilities. Covering art creation, production, communication, sales and curating, the company is a multi-functional and compound culture company. As a pioneer of contemporary art, MadeIn company is adept at tapping into the new potential of the art world with a leading vision, combining contemporary art, pioneering culture and globalisation.


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