On the evening of September 30, 2018, Sotheby's Hong Kong will offer XUZHEN SUPERMARKET, marking the first time a concept has been auctioned as a work of art in Asia. Conceived by leading Chinese Contemporary artist XU ZHEN(r), XUZHEN SUPERMARKET is one of the artist's most critically acclaimed works, which satirizes consumerism and global capitalism.
A concept will be auctioned as a work of art for the first time in Asia when Sotheby's (NYSE : BID ) Hong Kong presents XUZHEN SUPERMARKET (Est. US$115/192,000) in its Contemporary Art Evening Sale on 30 September 2018. Conceived by leading Chinese Contemporary artist XU ZHEN®, XUZHEN SUPERMARKET is one of the artist's most critically acclaimed works, which satirises consumerism and global capitalism. First exhibited in 2016, XUZHEN SUPERMARKET evolved from its predecessor, the SHANGHART SUPERMARKET, which debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2007 and was exhibited subsequently at numerous locations across the world.
An installation of the concept will be open for public participation during Sotheby's auction previews in Shanghai (1 – 2 September) and Beijing (4 – 5 September) – where all merchandise will be available for purchase – before the work is presented in Hong Kong (28 – 30 September) for exhibition only.
Artist XU ZHEN® commented: 'This truly ground-breaking collaboration with Sotheby's marks the first time in auction history a supermarket [concept] will go on sale. I am delighted that XUZHEN SUPERMARKET will be offered at an international auction, which escalates the work to a new level of breaking boundaries and disrupting preconceptions about art and daily life.'
A humorous yet subversive work, XUZHEN SUPERMARKET replicates a Chinese convenience store, housing a functioning cash register and an assortment of familiar merchandise available for visitors to purchase at normal retail prices. From tubes of Colgate toothpaste to bottles of local Kweichow Moutai liquor, each item lacks content, consisting only of its packaging. For visitors, each act of purchasing – or not purchasing – and corresponding thought-process, contributes to a playful yet penetrating critique on consumerism, advertising and global capitalism. The fact that the work is – for the first time – offered for sale at auction adds to the irony.
The buyer of the XUZHEN SUPERMARKET will obtain the right to commission new physical recreations and enactments of the concept, to be executed by XU ZHEN®. The current work on offer is the first and only edition of XUZHEN SUPERMARKET to ever come to market.
Yuki Terase, Sotheby's Head of Contemporary Art, Asia, commented: 'We are thrilled about this innovative collaboration with XU ZHEN®, who has a significant career spanning from being the youngest Chinese artist to participate in the Venice Biennale, to showing at the Guggenheim's major exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Art last year. A concept can be art, and with Conceptual Art like XUZHEN SUPERMARKET, we want to show the world a different, fresh, and stimulating side of Chinese Contemporary Art. This category is still new to auction – even on a global scale – and is therefore a testament to Sotheby's creative spirit and our capacity to push new frontiers to expand the variety of art in the region.'
About XU ZHEN®
XU ZHEN®, founded by artist Xu Zhen in 2013, is the flagship art brand of MadeIn Company. XU ZHEN® is committed to art creation and cutting-edge cultural development.
About Xu Zhen
Artist, Curator, MadeIn Company Founder. Xu Zhen was born in 1977. He currently lives and works in Shanghai.
Xu Zhen has been considered an iconic figure in Chinese contemporary art. In 2004, Xu won the prize for 'Best Artist' at the China Contemporary Art Award. His work covers various media such as installations, video, painting and performance, etc.
Xu Zhen has been exhibited internationally at museums and biennales, including: Venice Biennale (2001, 2005), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2004), Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, 2005), MoMA PS1 (New York, 2006), Tate Liverpool (2007), Hayward Gallery (London, 2012), Lyon Biennial (2013), Long Museum (Shanghai 2015), Al Riwaq Art Center (Qatar, 2016), Sydney Biennial (2016), Guggenheim Museum (New York, 2017).
As well as being an artist, Xu Zhen has also co-curated major exhibitions in Shanghai with other artists. As one of the founders of Art-Ba-Ba (www.art-ba-ba.com), Xu established a leading online forum for discussion and critique of contemporary art in Shanghai. In 2009, Xu set up 'MadeIn Company', which is focused on the production of creativity and devoted to the research of contemporary culture's infinite possibilities. This was followed by the MadeIn Company launching the XU ZHEN® brand in 2013, the MadeIn Gallery in 2014 and the first "Xu Zhen Store" in 2016.